This article examines the role and usefulness of league tables that are increasingly used to measure and compare the performance of tertiary education institutions. The article begins with a general overview and a typology of league tables. It continues with a discussion of the controversies they have generated, including the basis and the range of criticism they have invited, the merit of indicators they use as measures of quality, and the potential conditions that place universities at an advantage or a disadvantage in ranking exercises. The paper ends with a discussion of implications of league tables for national policies and institutional practices both in the developing world and in industrial countries.
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