life spheres are interconnected as should be also the data describing them
rankings used to be the same for every university but it should not be obligatory
non-obvious data trends often become visible when properly organized
There are a large number of different ratings, the results of which can be used to assess the state of the educational space, but are usually not taken into account when assessing the state of the university. Both university rankings and accreditation agencies tend to leave aside the assessment of the external factors of universities, but there are several examples of studies that convincingly show how a university affects the environment and the environment affects the university.
The use of rankings to upgrade the quality of the education process offers an opportunity for an impartial assessment by qualified experts of the strengths and weaknesses of a university and revealing its possible growth areas. The activity to upgrade the quality of all the aspects of the education process is the key way to build sustainable competitive advantages. It can be argued that an improvement of quality indicators even on one of the quality criteria entails improvement of other indicators.
"Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes"
For universities and their superior organizations the rankings may be fictitious areas of growth that run counter to the immediate tasks. In a situation of shortage of resources, preference is likely to be given to the tasks that ensure the achievement of indicators on whose fulfilment the entire further functioning of the universities may hinge. To prevent the indicators from becoming areas of growth the achievements should be systematically checked against the planned goal. Ideally, when indicators match the target, the optimum way to achieve the goal is correspondence to indicators.
The results of an assessment of a university by ranking agencies may be considered to be a valid assessment of the state of a university if they assess the university in its natural state. In a situation of purposeful efforts to achieve positions in rankings this is the leading goal, we are talking rather about the competition format. Conditions may be revealed under which an assessment of a university in its natural state is possible. Analysis of the performance of the Shanghai rankings shows that university rankings are good indicators, but bad pointers to areas of development.