Paul L. Caron

Friday, August 17, 2012

Emory Intentionally Cheated on Rankings for More Than Ten Years

Emory University LogoAtlanta Journal-Constitution:  Emory University Misrepresented Student Data:

For more than a decade Emory University intentionally misreported data about its students to groups that rank colleges, President Jim Wagner said Friday.

U.S. News & World Report, Peterson's and others routinely list Emory as one of the nation's top colleges. ...

Emory launched an investigation in May after John Latting, the new dean of admissions, discovered data discrepancies. The investigation found that Emory:

  • Used admitted students' SAT/ACT data instead of enrolled students since at least 2000. This overstated Emory's test scores.
  • May have excluded the scores of the bottom 10% of students when reporting SAT/ACT scores, GPAs, and other information. This practice was not followed after 2004.
  • Overstated class rankings.

The investigation found nothing to indicate that anyone in the president's, provost's or dean's offices knew data was being misreported or directed or coerced staff to do so.

Wagner said new internal controls and other steps will be taken to make sure data is reported correctly.

Emory ranks 20th among national universities in the current U.S. News college rankings.


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I mean kcom -- not PT. There I go again.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 18, 2012 12:02:51 PM

Thank you for the lesson in tense, PT. I can always count on someone pointing out a grammar or spelling error.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 18, 2012 12:01:08 PM

The past tense of "mislead" is "misled":

Past tense of mislead

Posted by: kcom | Aug 18, 2012 10:24:38 AM

The AJC is supposed to have a follow-up with more analysis in the Sunday paper. Meanwhile....

Update Friday evening

AJC reporter Laura Diamond is working on a story for Sunday on Emory and the rankings misinformation. If you are a parent, student or graduate and would be willing to talk with her, please call her at 404-526-7257 or email her [ [email protected] ]. Thanks. ....

Personally, I usually enjoy the comment section and can learn more from it. Here are a few from there:

"So the Atlanta Public Schools are not alone."

"The University cares about the quality of the educational product it provides only to the extent that it impacts its rankings, image, and marketability. I guess you just can’t turn Coca-Cola into champagne."

"Emory University is one of the finest schools in the United States of America !!! And can provide data to support that claim."

"Meanwhile, I’ll at least credit Wagner for going public and taking the (well-deserved) beating that will follow."

"I always loved the Indigo Girls description (coincidentally of an Emory professor):
I went to see the doctor of philosophy
With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee
He never did marry or see a B-grade movie
He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind, got my paper
And I was free.

"I always thought Emory grads were pompous eggheads. Their pomposity is unearned."

Posted by: Woody | Aug 18, 2012 10:22:37 AM

The past tense of "mislead" is "misled".

What is the past tense of mislead?

Posted by: kcom | Aug 18, 2012 10:21:10 AM

"When a colleague tried to obtain data on SAT scores, none of the HYP group would reveal test score ranges for the bottom 25%."

Of course not. There is a very long, thick tail on the left side of the bell curve, thanks to affirmative action. They have zero interest in drawing attention to it.

Posted by: John Skookum | Aug 18, 2012 9:36:34 AM

Gee and these egregious actions seem to be NOBODY"S fault? WOW!

Posted by: Fred17 | Aug 18, 2012 9:24:37 AM

"Our preliminary calculations show that the misreported data would not have changed the school's ranking in the past two years (No. 20) and would likely have had a small to negligible effect in the several years prior."

Then: why did they do it?

Posted by: Billy Beck | Aug 18, 2012 8:50:00 AM

Bottom 10%? My understanding is that none of the Ivies report average scores -- just the 25th, median, and 75th percentiles. When a colleague tried to obtain data on SAT scores, none of the HYP group would reveal test score ranges for the bottom 25%. As far as I know US News data for many schools is about median not average so that schools can hide what they do in the bottom quarter of their admits.

Posted by: Jory | Aug 18, 2012 8:17:26 AM

"Small negligible effect" my rear end. If they are cheating here, they are cheating somewhere else as well in order to affect the rankings. I always wondered why Emory was ranked so high.

Posted by: freuchie | Aug 18, 2012 8:13:38 AM

Guess my Alma Mater (CMU) moves up in the rankings!

Posted by: Carlos | Aug 18, 2012 8:12:12 AM

More and more stories like this come out. Yet according to the new Cooley Law report, there's no reason to believe that law schools might be fudging their numbers.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 17, 2012 8:55:27 PM

Tip of a very large, yellow colored iceberg.

Academic fraud regarding admission and employment statistics is widespread.

Given the decade long economic distress of the US, the huge taxpayer subsidies that go to higher education (direct - grants to schools, and indirect - tax exemptions for endowments, property tax exemptions, charitable status, etc.), and the crippled nature of the public fisc, an unprecedented hurricane is coming.

To make even the slightest effort to find financial fraud in higher education...will be to find it.

American higher education is about to be eaten by a beast of its own making.

Posted by: cas127 | Aug 17, 2012 7:13:13 PM

Shouldn't Emory Univesity seriously consider tuition rebates to students who were attracted by and mislead by the false ranking claims? It would be hard to be a good sport about paying a very high tuition for something sold with false advertising. If you have trouble with this, then substitute Exxon/Mobil for Emory University.

Posted by: Woody | Aug 17, 2012 2:39:59 PM