A 2004 paper by education researcher Gary R. Pike published in Research in Higher Education … found the U.S. News rankings for 14 public research universities that are part of the Association of American Universities. Then, he compared them with scores on a separate measure, the National Survey of Student Engagement, that’s designed specifically to determine how much students engaged in “educationally purposeful activities that contribute to their learning and success.” There was virtually no correlation between the two sets of data.