Emory Finds Intentional Misreporting of SAT/Rank Data, Revamps Procedures
Emory University conducted a review of its data collection and submission procedures and found that incorrect data had been submitted to ranking entities for years. Higher scores could result in better rankings for the school.
Apparently, the bogus submissions weren't an accident:
The central findings of the investigation were that there had been intentional misreporting over more than a decade, and that leadership in the Office of Admission and Institutional Research was aware of and participated in the misreporting. The investigation was not able to determine how the practice began.
The SAT/ACT misreporting was based on using admitted student scores vs. the reported metric, enrolled student scores. This resulted in artificially high numbers. The class rank data was also incorrect, but the investigation failed to determine the methodology used.
Now, Emory's procedures for data collection and reporting have been revamped and various checks and balances added to ensure accuracy.
There have been reports from other schools about marginal data tweaks, like excluding small groups of specially admitted students from the stats. This is a fairly major misreporting example, to be sure. It will be interesting to see if any other schools fess up.
Last edited by vonlost; 08-19-2012 at 05:19 PM.
Reason: removed reference to deleted post
I am very disappointed to wake up to this announcement. If you'll notice, most of the data in brochures from Emory reports the stats of admitted rather than enrolled students (to the best of my knowledge, Oxford accurately reports enrolled students' data online and in all publications).
I don't know what effect this will have on the number of applications or our various rankings, but it's very saddening.
Worse case scenario is this: some potential applicants may be deterred from applying, increasing the admissions rate. Even a modest drop in SAT range would bring the College of Arts and Sciences 25th percentile range under 2000, which is a major benchmark, and we may even see Emory follow just outside of the top 20 (further lowering applications). With that and the significant drop in percentage of students in the top 10% as a measure of perceived quality, we could see Emory's yield rate decrease (again increasing the admit rate). Unfortunately, that has the potential to be cyclical.
Be disappointed but not surprised (I'm sure other elites probably have similar practices, but Emory, as always, is the one dumb...I mean "ethical" enough to tell on itself). I don't care much for the fall out. What I'm betting is that numbers presented on the admissions website or new common data sets (and perhaps most brochures for the school) are correct (these reflect enrolled students) and they are pretty solid and "can" likely keep us in top 20 (perhaps, USNWR will react badly and "punish" us even if we deserve the spot. This reflects badly upon them as well). It appears that most schools "admit high and enroll much lower" whereas Emory is kind of at an admissions plateau (selectivity is not constantly increasing by ridiculous amounts like other schools. This is good for accessibility, but bad for rankings) and is thus admitting and enrolling on par. Given that fact, it is rare for Emory to do the showboating that some other institutions (I know of one that is very closely ranked) do by harping on the data of admitted students (even going as far as temporarily putting these stats up on their admissions website or making an article about it with the knowledge they have no chance of yielding students with those stats). Instead, Emory waits until students enroll, gets that data, and puts it on the admissions website (often there is like a 100 point discrepancy between admit vs. enrolled data at these other places whereas ours is like 40 points). Obviously, they've been taking liberty w/reporting to such sources. If people applying to Emory are more sensitive to outside perception and prestige than the fact that the school is taking the ethical high road by fixing it, then the school probably doesn't need them. Better to be associated in the media with reporting false admissions data than be associated w/LaCrosse scandals (Duke), serious sexual assault issues/concern (Yale), etc. If people care more about reporting of admissions data than actual issues that will legit affect their stay at a school of choice, then prestige whoring has gone too far. In addition, one applying to Emory can look at the glass half-full if I was wrong and the data in CDS and admissions website are false. They have a better chance than they think. And they still get a solid education (and we still have a huge endowment, awesome professional schools, lots of research funding, amazing facilities, professors, etc). Honestly, our data looks similar to Berkeley/Georgetown, which is right behind us. We're smaller than Berkeley, which is an advantage over them, and have more money than Georgetown, so I don't know about rankings. High school grades are so inflated that I'm sure 10% (even maybe 20-25%) yields a pretty high GPA, so raw GPA would indicate that most of those people are probably suitable for Emory "on paper" regardless of class rank (which can be tricky once you consider APs and weighting and stuff).
I think we could in theory drop to 22ish. Not bad (probably belonged there anyway, even if the SATs were as high as reported).
Comparing that data with the trends in Oxford admissions, I'm going to go so far as to say that while the College of Arts and Sciences will still have better test scores, the difference between Oxford and CAS students's stats will be far smaller this year. (Oxford hasn't yet released its enrolled students data.)
I think Emory (main campus) needs to move on from this and actually figure out how to control the amount of students enrolling (it increases every year and has gone up like over 100 people per class since I enrolled). I don't know if it is a good thing that class of 2016 has 50 more freshmen than 2015. Sure they can be housed (but what about sophomores in following years), but class space (especially in science depts.) is going to start getting tight. The trend of huge upperlevel biology and neuroscience courses will never end this way (and thus many of them will be stuck to their boring lecture, regurgitate what I and the book told you formats. Room for teaching innovation will be constrained by the growing size of the classes in some depts)
As a prospective student and rising senior in high school, I was really looking forward to applying to Emory and becoming a student there.
When I saw this news earlier today, I, too, was extremely shocked.
But then, two things reassured my confidence in Emory.
First and foremost was the fact that they report actual numbers regarding their pre-med acceptances to medical school (rather than giving a percentage-which can very easily be qualified to a few students)- This matters a lot to me as I plan on being pre-med.
Second, they came out and self-reported this. The people at Emory are smart, and they know that this could scare applications and endowment away....but they owned up to it. I admire that, and that is the kind of honest community I want to be a part of.
As a result, I will still be moving forward happily to send in my app. to Emory.
I know this doesn't delve into the specifics of what happened, but I just thought I'd share what a prospective student feels after reading about this.
Also, if it helps, I was previously considering applying ED to another school, but for the past 2-3 months, I have looked at Emory as an ED1 school, and that has not changed.
I agree with Guitarher0o7. Plus, I really only care what the admitted stats are as I'm concerned about my admittance. I don't really care about rankings. Sure, I want to go to a good school but we all know Emory IS one.
I've noticed that another thing colleges report is "percentage of students in top x% of the class". Now, they only use data for students whose schools actually provide a class rank! As it turns out, not all schools do that, which slightly increases that amount.
SAT optional schools, as pointed by Reed's former president, also use a siimilar "trick". With the standardised tests not being required, students who score higher will tend to send them in. Now, as it turns out, those colleges still accept applicants who didn't submit the SAT. While they (*may*) say that the SAT is only *one* part of the application or that it is not a very good indicator of anything besides "taking the SAT", they probably still report their SAT scores to rankings! What does that do? It gives them a boost in overall SAT scores and bumps them up the rankings.
"Our preliminary calculations show that the misreported data would not have changed the school's ranking in the past two years (No. 20) and would likely have had a small to negligible effect in the several years prior. "