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December 19, 2016 Comments (0) International Education

Bucknell Gets Caught With Faulty Data – Was it Intentional?


Bucknell University officials joined a short list of other university administrators who\’ve been forced to admit that their ranking against other US colleges was inflated by falsified SAT scores. Nick Anderson of the Washington Post says that it’s not yet known what effect this admission will have on their current rankings within the well-known U. S. News & World Report annual listing of colleges.

In an argument Friday on the Bucknell Web site, President John C. Bravman said aggregate SAT scores for incoming freshmen from 2006 through 2012 were overstated by 7 to 25 points around the 1600-point scale for that college admissions test in math and critical reading.

Bravman asserted their new VP for Enrollment Management, who began his position last summer, realized that the test scores with this year’s freshman class were on average lower than records of past classes. He began an internal investigation and found that the averages didn\’t match the raw scores on file. A small amount of students’ low scores have been dropped from the average in order to push it up by a few points.

In a study to the University trustees, Bravman apologized with respect to the administration:

\”These numerical omissions, as relatively tiny as they were, violated the trust of each and every student, faculty member, employee and Bucknellian they reached,\” Bravman wrote inside a statement addressed to the university\’s board of trustees. \”What matters is that important information conveyed with respect to our university was inaccurate. On behalf of the entire university, I offer my sincerest apology to any or all Bucknellians for these violations from the integrity of Bucknell.\”

Bucknell says that it does not know why the numbers were reported inaccurately, suggesting that deliberate manipulation may not have been the intent. The personnel who handled them have already left the University. The college also states there was no one number of students designated for omission, but rather they belonged to many different cohorts.

The school intends to prevent this error from happening later on by appointing two independent offices to analyze student test scores. Both the Admissions Office as well as an institutional research staff will send reports towards the President’s office, to ensure that these reports could be compared for accuracy.

Last year, George Washington University faced an identical embarrassment when they admitted that they reported to outside analysts that 78% of their incoming freshmen had graduated within the top 10% of the high school class. The particular number was 58%. The university said that the error happened due to an outdated and flawed reporting process. For the time being, GWU, previously ranked 51st around the US News list, is recognized as unranked.

Emory University, Tulane University and Claremont McKenna College faced similar problems with faulty data.

The US News & World Report is really a standard method for students to help winnow and select in the hundreds of schools competing for his or her attention. US News uses a proprietary ranking formula that takes into consideration many aspects of a school’s performance. Bucknell University happens to be ranked #32 on its list of national liberal arts colleges.

Located in Lewisburg, PA, Bucknell began in 1846. Its university is split into College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, and School of Management. It fields 25 sports teams in the NCAA Division I.

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