In a lot of ways, the work for this project is inspired by, and is meant to build upon, the research and results achieved by The Opportunity Project. As students at Emory University, our immediate interest came at the college level, where we were able to see which schools performed well and which didn’t quite stand up to par. Emory scored well in ____, but beyond that, was relatively mediocre, especially considering the depth of its endowment and the ‘prestige’ many students here like to associate with our school (“did you know Emory ranks number 21 in US News and World Reports rankings?”). So in a lot of ways, the results of The Opportunity Project’s research brings to question many of the standards we hold of our schools and what it is that constitutes a school as good. Should mobility rate, the ability of a school to admit students from the bottom quintile of the household income distribution and move them into the top quintile in the United States, be a major element of the college evaluation process? Are the Ivy League schools, and even schools like Emory, really as good as we claim them to be? Or are we simply evaluating them on certain qualities that allows them to stay within America’s upper echelon of perceived quality? The Opportunity Project left us with these questions, and we wanted answers.
Immediately, one can see that the schools performing best in the mobility rate column (meaning they achieved the highest percentages) are not schools that anyone would have been able to guess, or even ones that the majority of people would know, for that matter. In terms of tier, 10 of the top 20 are selective public.