Are the 4-year-graduation rate rankings destructive?

Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson in the Chronicle of Higher Education take issue with U.S. News & World Report’s recent list of schools with the best four-year graduation rates.

(By the way, in that one Carleton College tied for 5th place.)

Might the facts that 91% of the students were in the top 10% of their high-school graduating classes, the middle 50% of enrolled students scored between 680 and 780 on the reading and math SAT’s, and only about 15% of applicants are accepted provide more clues?

… Focusing on the success of institutions that educate only a tiny fraction of the most academically talented and well prepared students in the country—a disproportionate  number of whom have college-educated, relatively wealthy parents—is not just meaningless. It is destructive in sending the wrong signal to colleges that being more selective in their admissions processes is the route to success.