Data Errors Could Mean ‘Slight Change’ in GWU Ranking

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, November 12, 2012

The chief analyst behind the influential U.S. News & World Report college rankings says the revelation that George Washington University inflated a key measure of the academic credentials of incoming freshmen could, at most, yield “a slight change” in the school’s ranking.

GWU ranks 51st on the most recent U.S. News list of national universities. On Thursday, the university disclosed that it had overstated the percentage of freshmen in fall 2011 who were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Instead of 78 percent, as GWU first reported for that measure, university officials said the share was actually 58 percent. That is one of many pieces of data fed into the U.S. News ratings formula.

“If it does change GWU’s current Best Colleges 2013 edition ranking . . . it would be a slight change,” Robert Morse, data research director for U.S. News, wrote in an e-mail Friday afternoon. “However, we are still trying to carefully make that actual determination.”

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