I previously have blogged reports of over a dozen schools inflating their rankings by submitting erroneous data to U.S. News (Bucknell, Claremont McKenna, College of Charleston, Creighton, Emory, George Washington, Illinois, Missouri-Kansas City, Tulane, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Villanova, York College of Pennsylvania). U.S. News has announced what may be the most egregious case yet: Temple's online MBA has been ranked #1 for the past four years, based in part on its reporting that 100% of its entering students took the GMAT. Only 20% of its 2017 entering class did so. The U.S. News methodology penalizes online MBA programs in its rankings if less than 75% of entering students submit GMAT (or GRE) scores. Temple does not require that applicants take the GMAT in certain circumstances, and in the two years prior to being ranked #1, Temple reported that only 25% and 33% of its entering students took the GMAT.
Philadelphia Inquirer, Temple Online MBA Kicked Out of No. 1 Spot in US News Rankings; Now 'Unranked' Due to Data Error:
According to Poets & Quants, Temple has leveraged its No. 1 U.S. News rankings to expand enrollment in the online M.B.A. program, with a price tag of $59,760. In the last year alone, Temple was able to increase student enrollment by 57 percent to 546 students from 351, one of the largest percentage increases of any online M.B.A. offering.
Temple president Richard Englert also issued a statement. “We are doubling efforts to verify our data before it is submitted for rankings purposes, and we have every expectation that the Fox Online M.B.A. program will return to its rightful place among the nation’s top programs of its kind in 2019 and beyond,” he wrote in a public post.
Temple is hiring an independent firm to review all data reporting processes, although a Temple spokesman, Christopher Vito, declined to say which firm.
“The integrity of our data and reporting are paramount,” added Englert. “After consultation with provost JoAnne Epps and Fox School of Business dean Moshe Porat, I have decided to bring in an outside independent analyst to review our data reporting processes, including what occurred in this instance.”
Poets & Quants, Online Ranking Scandal At Temple Fox Could Worsen:
Rival deans have long been suspicious of Temple’s claims that 100% of its students have taken the GMAT. That’s largely because the school says on its website it would waive the test for candidates who meet one of several conditions. If an applicant possesses “managerial-level experience,” he may not have to take the standardized test. Of if the candidate has an undergraduate degree from an AACSB-accredited college, he would may get around the GMAT requirement. Temple also said that applicants with at least seven years of work experience and a 3.0 undergraduate point average as well as those with a JD, an MD or a PhD would not be required to hand over a GMAT score.
Given all those ways to get out of submitting a standardized test score, administrators from other schools were incredulous that Temple could still report a 100% rate of compliance for four years in a row. It also seemed odd that although Temple tells applicants it accepts GRE exam results, the school consistently reported to U.S. News that not a single student entered with a GRE score from 2013 to 2017. Yet, GRE exams figure prominently in admissions at other online MBA programs. Last year, for example, 20% of the entering students in IU’s KelleyDirect program got in with GRE scores. At Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, 31% of the latest entering online MBA took the GRE.
U.S. News’ methodology penalizes online MBA programs in its rankings if less than 75% of new entrants submit either a GMAT or GRE score. U.S. News says that is because the lack of data for 25% of students or more “likely means the standardized test score is not representative of the entire class.” Standardized test scores, of course, are also a sign of the quality of a school’s class. Not requiring the test for admission signals that the overall quality of an incoming class could be suspect. These scores have a weight of 10% in U.S. News’ rankings formula.