Unlike other ranking lists, the CHE ( Centrums für Hochschulentwicklung) ranking list does not rate universities on the basis of the total number of points that they receive. Instead, it is based on the assumption that results obtained using the various assessment criteria cannot be aggregated and, consequently, it is not possible to determine which university is the best. Universities can only be compared on the basis of a given subject or partial aspect. The CHE ranking list is therefore more of a rating system: universities are assessed according to a large number of indicators for each branch of studies. Some indicators even have a purely informative value and do not necessarily enable comparison between universities. As a result, universities will rank differently depending on which indicator is taken into account; the same university may find itself at the top of the list in one ranking and at the bottom of the list in another. This multidimensional aspect is intended to more clearly highlight the strengths and weakness of each university. Moreover, by taking the opinions of students, teachers and university administrators into account, the CHE ranking list also shows respect for diversity. This enables objective indicators to be compared with the subjective judgements of the interested parties. For each indicator, the CHE ranking list places universities in one of three groups: upper, intermediate and basic. Group-based ranking prevents minor differences between universities from showing up as major differences in ranking.
For the moment, the CHE ranking list is limited to German-speaking universities, which makes international comparison very difficult.
Swiss universities took part in two CHE rankings in conjunction with swissUp (economics and law in 2005 and natural sciences in 2006). Since the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) decided on 3 February 2006 to no longer take part in this ranking list, the latest comprehensive data are from 2005; a few Swiss universities continue to submit their data.