WSJ: Pressured to State Facts, Schools Give Excuses and Questionable Data

There is a good article in today’s WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/reader-comments.html?baseDocId=SB10001424052702303546204579435050684294642&headline=Colleges%20Are%20Tested%20by%20Push%20to%20Prove%20Graduates’%20Career%20Success

I commented as follows:

from my experience as a former professor (I taught math at Wsshington University
at St. Louis.), I read the opening paragraphs of this article as follows:

“Marketing and sales departments of universities tout their schools  qualities, but are unwilling to release data that substantiate their claims, giving various excuses.”

I can also point to an example of how much these marketing departments (euphemistically called “Admissions” or “University Reach”, etc…) rely on the naive trust that their customers (once quaintly called “students”) and their parents put into the fact that they represent aUNIVERSITY. Here it is.

In Washiington University’s Spring 2013 issue of  “Engineering Momentum” (http://engineering.wustl.edu/contentfiles/marketing/Engineering%20Momentum%20Spring%202013.pdf)  the university wrote (on page 3) that “…the average SAT…math scores … for  admitted undergraduate students…” in 2013 was 762. Quite a high number, but when  I called the magazine to ask for the number for the students who actually  ENROLLED, I was told that they do have the number but aren’t allowed to give it  out. (For more see the post “What the Engineering School at Washington  University in St. Louis Wants You to Know – And What It DOESN’T Want You To Know” on my blog www,inside-higher-ed.com

My warning: Buyer beware, even of the numbers that schools do give out. The example of Iona in this article is not isolated, nor is the Washington University example I give.”

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