Emory University on Friday became the latest and one of the most prestigious schools to be found to have misreported key data in the rankings competition. The school misrepresented data for as much as ten years and the difference was considerable.
Since as early as 2000, Emory overstated SAT and ACT scores by using the higher average of admitted as opposed to actually enrolled students. The school may also have simply dropped the scores from the bottom 10 percent of its class.
Two prior Admissions deans were named. The redemptive moment came with John Latting, who was named dean of admission last year after serving at Johns Hopkins University, and noticed (and reported) the discrepancies.
Based on these inflated reports, Emory was ranked 20th in the latest edition of the US News and World Report’s list of “America’s Best Colleges.”
To give an example of the impact of the discrepancies, Emory previously reported 87 percent of its 2010 class was in the top 10 percent of their high school class — as measured by the middle 50 percent of students. That figure was actually 75 percent. Likewise, the SAT range for that group was reported as between 1310 and 1500. The real scores were between 1270 and 1460. In academic rankings, that is a very significant difference and would likely have dropped Emory in the rankings. A review of the published scores show Emory was already lower in some categories than schools below it like Georgetown and Berkeley.
It is also a reflection of the misuse of rankings. I happen to be in the minority of faculty who believe that U.S. News and World Report is a valuable resource and an improvement on what little existed as a resource for students before its creation. However, students and parents often misunderstand the significance of the rankings. The fact is that the top 25 schools are closely packed and it is a bit artificial to call one school “the third best” and another “the fifth best” in the country. I understand the value in specific rankings, but students need to understand that, with so many top international schools, the top schools are all extraordinary. Indeed, when you look at the top 50 list the competition is remarkable. The top 25-50 include such amazing schools as Michigan, Virginia, and NYU. Texas is 45th and GW 50th. The difference between these schools is often the same as the one-second margin dividing Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Emory should be credited with coming clean on the issue. It remains one of the best universities in the world and it is a chilling thought that such a top school would feel the need to jimmy the data.
Source: US News