Tag: THE

Times Higher Education ranking tool to compare US universities

THEBy now most of us have been flooded with different kinds of rankings. THE, Shanghai and QS with their composite scores that rely rather heavily on research have been accompanied by a multitude rankings on all possible and impossible indicators – from university ICT visibility, employability and reputation to the best place to party.

THE World University Rankings has now also compiled a set of US universities in terms of Average SAT score, acceptance rate as well as total number of students enrolled. On THE website, one can also find the tool with out of state tuition fees included. Aligning these results with the ranking from the annual THE rankings, some interesting cases emerge.

The institutional profiles of the top universities clearly differ. Institutions such as UCLA and UC Berkeley have a much more open acceptance rate amongst the top ranked US universities. While Harvard has an acceptance rate of 6%, then Berkeley accepts 22% and UCLA 27% of the applicants, indicating that not all of the institutions in the top are equally selective. The institutions also vary greatly in terms of size, but it is not the case that the most selective institutions are the smallest, the emerging picture is rather varied. Harvard has in fact over 27 000 students, whereas CalTech has only just over 2200 students, and an acceptance rate of 13%. The highest acceptance rate amongst the top universities is at University of Washington which in the THE ranking is on the 25th place but takes in a whole 58% of the applicants.

The very largest institutions, University of Phoenix, Ashford, and Arizona State University are also amongst those that either are not ranked, or do not perform particularly well in the composite ranking. Of the five largest, only Arizona State University is part of the THE ranking, on #146 position. While on a global scale this is a good position, the students they attract in the US clearly have much lower average SAT scores than the better ranked institutions as their acceptance rate is at 89%. At the other end one can find Georgetown, a rather selective institution that accepts 18% of the students, but is well behind in the rankings of other equally selective institutions, being in fact ranked under Arizona, on #160.

News: World University Rankings 2012-2013 published last week

timesLast week the most recent set of World University Rankings was published. So, the top 10 includes Caltech, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Cambridge, Imperial College of London, UC Berkeley, and Chicago. In essence the same list than last year with just Oxford and Stanford changing their places. The first non-US/non-UK institution was ETZ Zürich on 12th place.

The best Asian university was University of Tokyo on 27th, and THE editor Phil Baty featured in his analysis Alan Ruby who argued that there is a general rise of Asian universities in the list, likely to be linked to the austerity measures in Western universities and the focus on excellence in a number of Asian countries which now is paying off. However, another analysis indicates that the good or better positioning in rankings is not indicative of increasing quality across Asia – for instance in the case of India there is a clear differentiation in terms of institutions and the few highly selective institutions provide few spillovers to the whole system.

The best Nordic university is Karolinska on 42nd place. In Norway, nation wide media wrote about the University of Oslo rising some 17 places – where the rector is commenting how this rise is due to a long term efforts to raise research quality. Odd words after last years “dramatic fall” – which was just as many places down. This indicates that in a two year perspective the position is about the same. But in those  two years this has created two kinds of news – the dedication to research and results on the one hand, and the dramatic fall on the other hand. And one can of course question how many changes there really have been over two years. But one could argue that University of Oslos concerns about falling under the 200 list can be seen as quite grounded in some kind of public perception, considering how the group under 200 in the THE analysis is calledthe best of the rest” or as “they might be giants…or were“.

News: Times reputation rankings published – emerging six clearly on top

THEYesterday, the newest Times Reputation Rankings were published. Unlike other rankings, including the THE World University Rankings, this list is compiled purely based on reputation – that is the subjective perception by other renowned academics in six subject areas: engineering and technology; physical sciences; life sciences; clinical, preclinical and health; social sciences; and arts and humanities.

The results speak perhaps for themselves. The top six universities lead with a huge margin, and include Harvard University (USA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of California, Berkeley (USA) and Stanford (USA). While these are also institutions that frequently are part of the top 10 in ranking based on other measures, the dominance in the reputation rankings is massive. In essence, this is also an exercise of creating a brand – these six universities are by no measure termed better with such a margin by other indicators and rankings, but somehow they have built a reputation that clearly distinguishes them from the rest.

THE article reviewing the latest reputation ranking results called these universities “super-brands”. However, one could also wonder what kind of impact the rankings themselves have had on this over the years, further institutionalising the position of the top institutions as the main players in the global higher education marketplace.  However, can the top at all be competed with, or is the Matthew effect just going to snowball over  time?

What does Stanford have that Princeton does not? While Princeton does by far not do badly on the reputation rankings, it is clearly lagging behind the first six in this ranking, while being in fact ahead of Cambridge in the latest World Rankings. Nevertheless, in terms of reputation it received barely half of what Stanford did on 6th place. Perhaps something for the marketing department to ponder about? 

Apps on higher edudcation: statistics, info, rankings

As smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly commonplace, we thought it might be cool to examine some of the apps available that are relevant for higher education. We include apps related to various available large scale statistics, rankings, and other information about higher education. Excluded this time are apps that are specifically targeted towards students and instructors, such as various learning and time management apps.

World Bank EdStats DataFinder 

Overview and usefulness: The app allows you to sort the data according to country, topic and indicators, in addition to the option to create advanced queries. The countries can be viewed in terms of alphabetical order, regions, and economic development. It is possible to customize the reports based on selected indicators and createvisualisations, in addition to saving these for later viewing. The app is free, and the amount of data available is massive. The statistics cover 2,000 indicators for more than 200 countries.

Drawbacks: Only availabole for iOS for the time being.

THE World University Rankings 2012-2013

Overview and usefulness: An app that visualises the data from the recent Times Higher Education rankings for 2012-2013. In addition to the overall rankings, there is in-depth data per institution. The mapping tool shows the best universities in a gegraphical overview. Overall, easy access to the recent rankings and also allows for customization options.

Newest Times Higher Education rankings published

Yesterday evening Norwegian time, the newest THE Rankings were presented with considerable blast created around them. Having first been published since 2010, they have rapidly gained a spot in the rankings landscape amongst the more important ones. In the THE ranking, the list is topped by CalTech for the second year in a row, and Harvard (the usual number one in most rankings) has dropped down to fourth.

The top 10 list for this year includes CalTech, Stanford, Oxford, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Cambridge, Imperial college London, UC Berkeley, Chicago. As such, there are no major surprises in the top – as usual it is dominated by US and UK institutions and with small fluctuations the top10 tends to be the same over the years.

The ranking is based on 13 performance indicators, which arguably are sufficient to provide a ranking that can take into account the roles of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. In this, teaching and measures of learning environments account for 30%, research volume, income and reputation for another 30%, citations for 30% and industry income and international outlook for 10% alltogether. As such, while the ambition is to show a comprehensive measure, the indicators are nevertheless strongly skewed towards research.

While there is no doubt that the particular balancing, choice of indicators and even the overall possibility to measure quality in terms of quantifiable indicators can always be criticized (and they have been to a great extent in the research literature), they still might be worth paying some attention to. Not least because they seem to create headlines in mainstream media, and form a basis for a number of opinions and decisions on higher education in national contexts.