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Read University ratings between the lines

Choosing a foreign University, prospective students and their parents often browsing today's popular ratings of higher educational institutions. The first conclusion about the universities from the bottom of the list - they are worse than those that occupy the first position. What is behind the row of such a table, really? The ratings provide a framework for choice, sistematizirovat information, but, however, bear a share of subjectivism and exclude from consideration many factors. And they must be read so as to extract the maximum benefit.

What are the ratings?

Consider the example of the famous British The Complete University Guide, published annually by the newspaper The Independent. The Complete University Guide, offers two tables: one ranks the universities according to General results, and the other on developments in specific subject areas. Only used nine evaluation criteria.

Weight indicator Figure Transcript
1,5 Student satisfaction the overall quality of programs student feedback about the quality of the programs
1,5 Research assessment quality the quality of research quality indicator 1 employee
1 Entry standards entry requirements the average score received
1 Student:staff ratio the ratio of students and teachers the number of students per 1 teacher
1 Academic Services spend the costs of development of training base (library, IT) 1 student in average over 3 years
1 Facilities spend the cost of sports, career, health students 1 student in average over 3 years
1 Good honours diplomas with honors the ratio of diplomas with honors and regular
1 Graduate prospects career opportunities for graduates the ratio employed in the profession or have decided to continue training with the unemployed
1 Completion students completing the course the ratio of enrolled and graduates

The overall rating allows you to rate the results on any of the nine criteria and change the score assigned to the criterion, to produce a table that takes into account personal priorities of the applicant.

The rating of subject areas, it may be useful to those who have already decided on the scope of their interests and would like to learn more about her in reputable universities.

Objective and subjective factors underlying rating

Statistics are based on University ratings include information not only about facts but also about the personal opinion of students. So we need to talk about the objective and subjective factors in the assessment of educational institutions rankings.

The objective factors include, for example, data on admissions scores, the percentage of issued diplomas with honors, on the funds spent on the development of material and educational base of the University and various services. Another important objective indicator data Research Excellence Framework 2014. These data are multi-stage quantitative assessment of the scientific weight of papers presented by the universities for a certain period of time. At the first stage it produces colleagues on areas of concern with equal academic status, then the Commission of international experts.

Subjective factors in ranking – it is also the statistics, but they are either based on someone's personal opinion, or can be influenced not related to the educational process directly circumstances. In the explanatory article to The Complete University Guide ("How the League Table works") writes: the scores in the column "Total quality program" based on data from the National survey of students (NSS), and "the survey is an indicator of students' opinion and not a direct indicator of quality. The opinion can be affected by many factors, such as the effect of previous expectations." As well as a low score in the column "Ratio of students and teachers" can only be an indirect guarantee of the quality of education. In addition, it is traditionally low in medical schools and positively affect the overall score of the University to which this school belongs.

The ratings provide General benchmarks

The rating sets the General guidelines and certainly offers food for thought, but still enough information to make informed decisions, a student should own. The ratings are based on important to most incoming factors and exclude from consideration more private moments, which, however, can play a crucial role in deciding a particular student. To choose the most suitable University and program, it may be worthwhile to refer to other resources in the UK information support for applicants organized at the highest level.

So, what do the ratings?

  • give expert evaluation of the quality of universities: it is based there are a number of subjective factors that can not talk about the rating, on a completely objective evaluation;
  • enhance the reputation of universities in the higher lines, get their deserved place, while everyone else has something to offer, and these programs can be unique;
  • assist in program selection, setting General guidelines, but the definition of its goals and objectives and appropriate priorities remains a matter.