Despite Investigation, Ranking Will Stay at No. 20
The misreported admissions data that administrators disclosed to the public on Friday will not affect Emory’s No. 20 position in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges” 2011 and 2012 rankings, the news organization said in an Aug. 17 statement.
Administrators have misrepresented the SAT/ACT scores and class ranks of incoming freshmen since 2000, and sent this data to companies that rank colleges and universities, the University announced on Friday. (Read the full story on the investigation here.) U.S. News said in its statement that the misreported information “would likely have had a small to negligible effect in the several years prior” to 2011.
Emory was ranked No. 17 in U.S. News’ 2010 edition of “Best Colleges,” a rise from the 2009 ranking of 18th in the nation. In 2008 and 2007, Emory ranked No. 17 and 18, respectively.
“We deplore the long-standing misreporting which Emory made public today, but we’re encouraged that the university disclosed it,” U.S. News Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly said in the statement. “We appreciate the university’s commitment to fixing its data process. We’ve always believed that honest data reporting is in everyone’s interest.”
Businessweek, which annually ranks business schools around the country, has verified that the institutional data submitted by Emory’s Goizueta Business School has not been misreported, the company said in an Aug. 20 statement. Businessweek has ranked Goizueta among the top five business schools in the country for the past two years.
Andrea Hershatter, senior associate dean and director of Goizueta’s BBA program, said in the statement from Businessweek that the B-school collects and fact-checks data for rankings differently from the College. She said that B-school administrators cross-reference student information to the University-wide database and the dean’s office before reporting it to Businessweek.
The undergraduate business program submits data only to Businessweek, according to the Businessweek statement, and because Emory students enroll in the B-school typically during their junior year, there are no admitted students who do not enroll.
Emory has taken steps to ensure that the data it submitted to the U.S. News for its 2013 edition of “Best Colleges,” which will be released Sept. 12, were accurate, according to the statement. In addition, the University has “no way of knowing” whether Emory’s 2013 rankings will drop as a result of correcting the data, the University said on its website.
While the University acknowledged that slightly lower SAT and class rank data will hurt the school’s ranking, those lower indicators might improve the school’s scores in the graduation performance category in the future.
According to John Latting, the dean of admission and assistant vice provost of undergraduate enrollment, U.S. News determines how it ranks universities based on a variety of factors. In addition to “more objective statistics” – such as test scores and class rank of enrolling students, admission rate, percentage of alumni donation, faculty salary, and class sizes – the organization uses “subjective information,” Latting explained. He said that this includes opinion surveys of administrators at different universities regarding “reputation [and] academic stature.”
The weight given to certain criteria can change from one year to the next, according to the U.S. News website.
“As I stand back and reflect on this whole issue of reporting coming from admissions office all around the country, I think you have to be concerned about [fact-checking] because these are increasingly high-profile rankings and these statistics seem to matter more and more to people,” said Latting, who hired a statistical analyst in order to create a more systematic and transparent method of determining University admissions data.
After an investigation conducted by an external organization revealed that past leadership in the admissions office had directed staff to misreport data, Latting said he met with his staff and told them to “please come to [him] if anything [the admissions office is] doing doesn’t meet [their] ethical test.” He also told his staff that if he did not respond satisfactorily, that they should go to his superiors.