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FBS Academic Rankings -- USNWR (UG) | Shanghai (PG) | Research
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RE: FBS Academic Rankings -- USNWR (UG) | Shanghai (PG) | Research
Wake Forest is also a small school, the smallest P5 and bigger only than the military academies and Tulsa in FBS.
09-16-2020 08:26 PM
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RE: FBS Academic Rankings -- USNWR (UG) | Shanghai (PG) | Research
The Ranking Factors

Changes to the rankings methodology this year include the introduction of two outcome measures pertaining to graduate indebtedness, for a total of 17 factors. To make room, we gave less weight in the rankings to SAT/ACT scores, high school class standing and alumni giving rates. Below are the factors and weights used in the Best Colleges rankings. For more granular descriptions, see Ranking Criteria and Weights and Morse Code: Inside the College Rankings.

RANKING FACTOR NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES AND NATIONAL LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES INDICATOR WEIGHT REGIONAL UNIVERSITIES AND REGIONAL COLLEGES INDICATOR WEIGHT
GRADUATION AND RETENTION RATES 22% 22%
AVERAGE SIX-YEAR GRADUATION RATE 17.6% 17.6%
AVERAGE FIRST-YEAR STUDENT RETENTION RATE 4.4% 4.4%
SOCIAL MOBILITY 5% 5%
PELL GRANT GRADUATION RATES 2.5% 2.5%
PELL GRANT GRADUATION RATE PERFORMANCE 2.5% 2.5%
GRADUATION RATE PERFORMANCE 8% 8%
UNDERGRADUATE ACADEMIC REPUTATION 20% 20%
PEER ASSESSMENT SURVEY 20% 20%
FACULTY RESOURCES FOR 2019-2020 ACADEMIC YEAR 20% 20%
CLASS SIZE INDEX 8% 8%
FACULTY COMPENSATION 7% 7%
PERCENT FACULTY WITH TERMINAL DEGREE IN THEIR FIELD 3% 3%
PERCENT FACULTY THAT IS FULL TIME 1% 1%
STUDENT-FACULTY RATIO 1% 1%
STUDENT SELECTIVITY FOR THE FALL 2019 ENTERING CLASS 7% 7%
MATH AND EVIDENCE-BASED READING AND WRITING PORTIONS OF THE SAT AND THE COMPOSITE ACT SCORES 5% 5%
HIGH SCHOOL CLASS STANDING IN TOP 10% 2% 0%
HIGH SCHOOL CLASS STANDING IN TOP 25% 0% 2%
ACCEPTANCE RATE 0% 0%
FINANCIAL RESOURCES PER STUDENT 10% 10%
AVERAGE ALUMNI GIVING RATE 3% 3%
GRADUATE INDEBTEDNESS 5% 5%
GRADUATE INDEBTEDNESS TOTAL 3% 3%
GRADUATE INDEBTEDNESS PROPORTION WITH DEBT 2% 2%
TOTAL 100% 100%
Outcomes (40%, previously 35%)

Forty percent of a school's rank comes from its success at retaining and graduating students within 150% of normal time (six years), graduate indebtedness, and social mobility factors. Graduation rates themselves have the highest weight in outcomes and in our rankings because degree completion is necessary to receive the full benefits of undergraduate study from employers and graduate schools. We approach outcomes from angles of graduation and retention (22%), graduation rate performance (8%), social mobility (5%) and, new this year, graduate indebtedness (5%).

Graduation and retention rates:


This has two components.

A four-year rolling average of the proportion of each entering class (fall 2010-2013) earning a degree in six years or less (17.6%)
A four-year rolling average of the proportion of first-year entering students (fall 2015-fall 2018) who returned the following fall (4.4%)
Graduation rate performance: We compared each college's actual six-year graduation rate with what we predicted for its fall 2013 entering class. For the first time this year, we averaged two years of graduate rate performance data for the graduation rate performance calculations to reduce the volatility of this indicator. So this indicator contains data from the fall 2012 and fall 2013 entering classes. The predicted rates were modeled from admissions data, the proportion of undergraduates awarded Pell Grants, school financial resources, the proportion of federal financial aid recipients who are first-generation college students, and National Universities' math and science orientations.

Social mobility: This indicator measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grants. Students receiving these grants typically come from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000. For the second consecutive year, U.S. News published a distinct social mobility ranking for all ranked schools. The social mobility ranking was computed by aggregating the two ranking factors assessing graduation rates of Pell-awarded students.

Pell Grant graduation rates incorporate six-year graduation rates of Pell Grant students, adjusted to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions. This is computed as a two-year rolling average.
Pell Grant graduation rate performance compares each school's six-year graduation rate among Pell recipients with its six-year graduation rate among non-Pell recipients by dividing the former into the latter, then adjusting to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions. The higher a school's Pell graduation rate relative to its non-Pell graduation rate up to the rates being equal, the better it scores. This, too, is computed as a two-year rolling average.
The two graduate indebtedness figures added to the rankings this year were collected by U.S. News during the spring and summer 2020 on our financial aid survey. Federal loans made to students who borrowed while enrolled at the institutions and co-signed loans make up these figures. They exclude students who transferred in, money borrowed at other institutions, parent loans and students who did not graduate with a bachelor's degree. The two new indicators are:

Graduate indebtedness total: Average amount of accumulated federal loan debt among the 2019 bachelor's degree graduating class that took out federal loans (weighted 3%). For nonresponders to U.S. News' financial aid survey, the College Scorecard's most recent cohort of institutional median graduate indebtedness was adjusted and used in its place.

Graduate indebtedness proportion: Percentage of graduates from the 2019 bachelor's degree graduating class who borrowed federal loans (2%). For nonresponders to U.S. News' financial aid survey, the College Scorecard's most recent institutional cohort of the proportion of undergraduates borrowing was adjusted and used in its place.

New this year, U.S. News calculated a graduate indebtedness rank, which is the combination of the two indebtedness indicators for ranked schools. They indicate how schools compare in terms of total graduate indebtedness among those with debt and the proportion of graduates with debt. Schools that ranked the highest had the lowest average amount of debt accrued by their the most recent graduates and a relatively small proportion of students graduating with debt compared with other schools in their U.S. News ranking category. This graduate indebtedness rank is available on each school's Ranking Factor section on usnews.com.

These two indicators were introduced because it has been estimated that U.S. college debt stands at $1.6 trillion of outstanding federal and private student debt, which is held by 45 million student loan borrowers. Affordability of college and the value of that degree after graduation, in terms of being able to earn enough money to be able to make the loan payments, are prime concerns of prospective students and their families. Those vital issues are accounted for in graduate indebtedness. Student debt can have a long-lasting impact. Incorporating this outcome measure into the rankings is a step to holding institutions accountable for the cost of college and the sources of funding available from that school to help students pay for their education.


Faculty Resources (20%)

Research shows the greater access students have to quality instructors, the more engaged they will be in class and the more they will learn and likely graduate. U.S. News uses five factors from the 2019-2020 academic year to assess a school's commitment to instruction: class size (8%), faculty salary (7%), faculty with the highest degree in their fields (3%), student-faculty ratio (1%) and proportion of faculty who are full time (1%).

At 8%, class size is the most highly weighted faculty resource measure. Schools score better the greater their proportions of smaller classes for fall 2019.
Faculty salary is weighted at 7% and is the average full-time faculty salaries for assistant, associate and full professors for 2019-2020, based on definitions from the American Association of University Professors. This is a change from previous rankings, which used a two-year average of both salaries and nonsalary compensation, i.e., benefits in the calculations. The salary data was once again adjusted for regional differences in the cost of living using the Bureau of Economic Analysis regional price parities indexes, published in May 2020.
Expert Opinion (20%)

Academic reputation matters because it factors things that cannot easily be captured elsewhere. For example, an institution known for having innovative approaches to teaching may perform especially well on this indicator, whereas a school struggling to keep its accreditation will likely perform poorly.

Each year, top academics – presidents, provosts and deans of admissions – rate the academic quality of peer institutions with which they are familiar on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). We take a two-year weighted average of the ratings. The 2021 Best Colleges ranking factors in scores from both 2020 and 2019.

U.S. News collected the most recent data by administering peer assessment surveys in spring and summer 2020 directly to schools. Of the 4,816 academics who were sent questionnaires in 2020, 36.4% responded – a decrease from the 43% response rate in 2019.

Schools interested in a breakdown of their peer assessment ratings by respondent type can access this information along with 29 million other data points with a subscription to U.S. News' Academic Insights. Its web-based platform facilitates a deep dive for studying and benchmarking the rankings and is designed for colleges and universities only.

Financial Resources (10%)

Generous per-student spending indicates a college can offer a wide variety of programs and services. U.S. News measures financial resources by using the average spending per student on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures in the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.

Student Excellence (7%, previously 10%)


A school's academic atmosphere is influenced by the selectivity of its admissions. Simply put, students who achieved strong grades and test scores during high school have the highest probability of succeeding at challenging college-level coursework, enabling instructors to design classes that have great rigor.

Standardized tests: U.S. News factors average test scores for all enrollees who took the mathematics and evidence-based reading and writing portions of the SAT and the composite ACT in fall 2019. Both SATs and ACTs were converted to their 0-100 test taker percentile distributions and weighted based on the proportions of new entrants submitting each exam.

We weighted standardized tests at 5% (7.75% previously) in the overall rankings.

Schools sometimes fail to report SAT and ACT scores for students in these categories: athletes, international students, minority students, legacies, those admitted by special arrangement and those who started in the summer term. For any school that did not report all scores or that declined to say whether all scores were reported, U.S. News reduced its combined SAT/ACT percentile distribution value used in the ranking model by 15%. If the combined percentage of the fall 2019 entering class submitting test scores was less than 75% of all new entrants, its combined SAT/ACT percentile distribution value used in the rankings was discounted by 15%.

U.S. News now ranks schools that report they don't use the SAT or ACT at all in admissions decisions. Previously, beginning with the 2008 edition of Best Colleges, these test-blind schools had been automatically excluded from the overall rankings and categorized as unranked. (These are different than schools that have test-optional or text-flexible admissions policies that have always been ranked and will continue to be ranked.) As a result of this change, more than 60 schools will be added to the overall rankings. The test-blind schools without SAT/ACT scores for fall 2019 were assigned values for ranking calculation purposes only equal to the lowest test score by a ranked school in their category; their test scores are published as N/A on usnews.com.

High school class standing: U.S. News incorporates the proportion of enrolled first-year students at National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges who graduated in the top 10% of their high school classes, and for Regional Universities and Regional Colleges, the proportion who graduated in the top quarter of their high school classes. It contributes 2% (2.25% previously) toward schools' overall scores.

Alumni Giving (3%, previously 5%)

This is the average percentage of living alumni with bachelor's degrees who gave to their school during 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Giving measures student satisfaction and post-graduate engagement.

Data Sources

Most colleges report the data directly to U.S. News. This year, 85% of ranked institutions returned their statistical information during the spring and summer 2020 data collection window.
(This post was last modified: 09-16-2020 08:43 PM by Statefan.)
09-16-2020 08:41 PM
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RE: FBS Academic Rankings -- USNWR (UG) | Shanghai (PG) | Research
58% of the evaluation metrics can be gamed. Class size is the biggest as I have a kid taking a class this year with 4 different sections with each section containing 16. That's a class of 64, not 4 classes of 16.

The six year graduate rate is a function of the particular programs and STEMS take longer to graduate than arts and sciences.

10% regarding indebtedness is a function of the cost and aid available for middle class people with above average grades. No one pays at Duke is they can't afford it, but a public's you will incur some debt.

Some school go all out to manipulate these rankings.
09-16-2020 08:52 PM
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RE: FBS Academic Rankings -- USNWR (UG) | Shanghai (PG) | Research
(09-16-2020 08:20 PM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  
(09-15-2020 05:36 AM)schmolik Wrote:  How is Wake Forest only R2 behind a bunch of schools ranked way lower in the USN&WR rankings?

R1 schools are expected to graduate 20 or more doctorates a year and receive at least $5 million in total research expenditures.

No, that is the criteria for just making the list at all.

Wake has ~$182 million in R&D a year and graduates over 50 doctorates a year.

R1 vs R2 is decided by comparative analysis of any one school vs the other schools measured (those meeting the criteria).

Carnegie classifications are mostly bench marks that university administrations use for aspirational goals and trying to show gains in some measure. You never, ever hear anyone talking about it at an institution already classified as "R1". Much like AAU membership, it means way more to people not conducting academic research than those who do.
09-16-2020 08:53 PM
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RE: FBS Academic Rankings -- USNWR (UG) | Shanghai (PG) | Research
(09-16-2020 08:52 PM)Statefan Wrote:  Class size is the biggest as I have a kid taking a class this year with 4 different sections with each section containing 16. That's a class of 64, not 4 classes of 16.

Sure, your kid's teacher is teaching 64 kids total but only teaching 16 at one time so I would say the 16 is more accurate than 64. If a teacher teaches four different classes instead of four sections of the same class, would you then say your child's class size is the total of all of your teacher's classes combined?

16 seems like a pretty low section size for a course with 64 students. I'd probably put those students in three or even two sections depending on the course.

Now at Illinois undergrad, class size is huge in general. They have many lectures over 100 students although a lot of those classes have additional discussion or lab sections where they meet in smaller sections (although those are usually led by graduate students). It didn't bother me. If you wanted to contact your professor you could and in most cases your prof didn't know who you were if you didn't want them to know who you were. Now they have clickers to keep attendance. When I was there, you just skipped class whenever you wanted to if you had a large class. Many small classes didn't take attendance either. I went to most of my classes but when my teacher sucked or the class sucked I skipped.
09-17-2020 04:52 AM
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