The Sunday Times University Guide 2010 - Discussion thread Watch

0404343m
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#21
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#21
(Original post by achard)
How do some unis have negative dropout rates? Do more students graduate than those who enrol?
The funding council that gives universities a big chunk of their money work out how many people should complete the course based on how many started. Effectively they expect certain universities to retain students better than others, and if they don't, points are deducted. Crap system if you ask me- every university in the more working class-orientated West of Scotland loses a heap in that column (Glasgow for instance would be 13th rather than 22nd if dropout rate was taken out of the equation) and, as River said, asking head teachers what they think is a daft idea- most of them don't have the faintest clue about higher education- even if they went to university, it was usually 30+ years ago.

Prudy has, as ever, hit the nail on the head. This will just cause the prestige whores to go nuts again for a while. It won't be long before someone calls this table 'rubbish' or 'inaccurate' because LSE is ninth....
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achard
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#22
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#22
(Original post by 0404343m)
The funding council that gives universities a big chunk of their money work out how many people should complete the course based on how many started. Effectively they expect certain universities to retain students better than others, and if they don't, points are deducted. Crap system if you ask me- every university in the more working class-orientated West of Scotland loses a heap in that column (Glasgow for instance would be 13th rather than 22nd if dropout rate was taken out of the equation) and, as River said, asking head teachers what they think is a daft idea- most of them don't have the faintest clue about higher education- even if they went to university, it was usually 30+ years ago.

Prudy has, as ever, hit the nail on the head. This will just cause the prestige whores to go nuts again for a while. It won't be long before someone calls this table 'rubbish' or 'inaccurate' because LSE is ninth....

yes but what does -22% drop out rate mean? They gain 22% more students since the start of the course?
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0404343m
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#23
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#23
(Original post by achard)
yes but what does -22% drop out rate mean? They gain 22% more students since the start of the course?
It's not a percentage, its a score. The funding council expects Glasgow and Edinburgh to have something like 94% of their students going on to gain degrees. Edinburgh exceeds this figure very slightly, so gains a point based on a formula. Glasgow had about 89% of people getting degrees, and the govt expect more than that- so the ST decide to take points off, because they should be doing better in that respect.

94% is a pretty high level though- the powers that be calculate a figure for every university- Russell Group ones get the bar set quite high, but if an ex-poly for instance was to get 89% of people graduating, it'd gain a load of points under the Sunday Times method, as thats a much higher figure than they were expecting. So its not that the dropout rate is good or bad, its just if its better or worse than expected.
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achard
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#24
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#24
(Original post by 0404343m)
It's not a percentage, its a score. The funding council expects Glasgow and Edinburgh to have something like 94% of their students going on to gain degrees. Edinburgh exceeds this figure very slightly, so gains a point based on a formula. Glasgow had about 89% of people getting degrees, and the govt expect more than that- so the ST decide to take points off, because they should be doing better in that respect.

94% is a pretty high level though- the powers that be calculate a figure for every university- Russell Group ones get the bar set quite high, but if an ex-poly for instance was to get 89% of people graduating, it'd gain a load of points under the Sunday Times method, as thats a much higher figure than they were expecting. So its not that the dropout rate is good or bad, its just if its better or worse than expected.
That is retarded.
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acwright
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#25
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#25
(Original post by 0404343m)
The funding council that gives universities a big chunk of their money work out how many people should complete the course based on how many started. Effectively they expect certain universities to retain students better than others, and if they don't, points are deducted. Crap system if you ask me- every university in the more working class-orientated West of Scotland loses a heap in that column (Glasgow for instance would be 13th rather than 22nd if dropout rate was taken out of the equation) and, as River said, asking head teachers what they think is a daft idea- most of them don't have the faintest clue about higher education- even if they went to university, it was usually 30+ years ago.

Prudy has, as ever, hit the nail on the head. This will just cause the prestige whores to go nuts again for a while. It won't be long before someone calls this table 'rubbish' or 'inaccurate' because LSE is ninth....
It's a fair enough league table - all the papers this year have focussed really strongly on the 2009 NSS scores in their weighting - much more than ever before. This is why some have dropped off, with LSE and Edinburgh both suffering adversely from their scores. The same happened in the Guardian's recent table with LSE fifth and Imperial eigth.

If you take away the NSS scores (which are highly flawed, but then you could equally argue that against a lot of factors used) then LSE is fifth and Edinburgh moves up, so it's swings and roundabouts. If you are really concerned about satisfaction (which most will be) then take it into account, but look closely at how much it distorts other aspects. LSE is not the ninth best university in the country, it's not going to lose any of its world-class clout and international recognition as a leading global institution - it just shows that students aren't as satisfied with their teaching in certain programmes etc. which the institution is spending millions on addressing over the next few years. Edinburgh are doing the same, and Imperial are keen to boost their own satisfaction scores also.
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0404343m
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#26
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#26
(Original post by achard)
That is retarded.
Yup. It's effectively telling ex-polys that its ok if lots of people drop out, because they'd expect people with those grades to struggle anyway. I personally don't believe thats a fair assumption to make, and thus I don't believe that a table should have a column where points are added or deducted purely on exceeding or failing to meet some pen-pushers expectation for course completion. The focus should be on the quality of the education, not ensuring everyone gets pushed through to gaining a degree, regardless of how badly they perform.
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Simplicity
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#27
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#27
Crap as usual.
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M_E_X
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Simplicity)
Crap as usual.
Manchester is only 26th, don't beat yourself up buddy. :hugs:
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Tsukuyomi
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#29
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#29
bath is rnk 11 not bad:cool:
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roxy potter
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#30
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#30
This league table seems to have had more of a year on year change than I've ever seen before. I can't wait to read the guide in the paper though, I do enjoy it(even if it makes me a sad person)
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0404343m
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#31
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#31
(Original post by acwright)
It's a fair enough league table - all the papers this year have focussed really strongly on the 2009 NSS scores in their weighting - much more than ever before. This is why some have dropped off, with LSE and Edinburgh both suffering adversely from their scores. The same happened in the Guardian's recent table with LSE fifth and Imperial eigth.

If you take away the NSS scores (which are highly flawed, but then you could equally argue that against a lot of factors used) then LSE is fifth and Edinburgh moves up, so it's swings and roundabouts. If you are really concerned about satisfaction (which most will be) then take it into account, but look closely at how much it distorts other aspects. LSE is not the ninth best university in the country, it's not going to lose any of its world-class clout and international recognition as a leading global institution - it just shows that students aren't as satisfied with their teaching in certain programmes etc. which the institution is spending millions on addressing over the next few years. Edinburgh are doing the same, and Imperial are keen to boost their own satisfaction scores also.
LSE isn't the ninth best anything in the country- as I've said to seemingly too long on here you can't compare LSE with Imperial, as they're apples and oranges- you can't compare a Manchester with a St Andrews, or a science-orientated place like Bath with somewhere whose biggest faculty is for arts students. I don't really think comparing universities on a like-for-like basis works at all, and I'd be inclined to scrap tables altogether. Don't get me wrong, I believe that the stats behind them are useful, but compiling them together to say that 12th is somehow superior to 32nd, which may be an institution of an entirely different character, is a bad idea.

If I was to even contemplate a table- it'd be highly customiseable to what mattered to students. Edinburgh's student satisfaction score isn't just bad- it's among the very worst in the country according to most of its students and has been for a number of years- but it doesn't mean everyone feels the same way, or everyone thinks thats important. People should definitely know that it's having problems in this area, but not that its 15th in the UK or somehow inferior to anywhere else as in institution because of it.

League tables are only around a decade and a half old. Lots of the universities in these tables are many times older than the table they're being ranked in- but the 17 year olds today think they're of paramount importance when selecting a university. Edinburgh existed for centuries before league tables, attracting some of the best in the world before people knew it was "top 20" or whatever. Moaning that a table is somehow innacurate becausea decade ago somewhere was higher or lower than it is now makes absolutely no sense- all that we're achieving is to lose the focus on the quality of education in order to strive to be a few places higher in the eyes of some journalist. A Warwick Professor called Andrew Oswald has been saying this for years, but sadly not many seem to be listening.
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Slumpy
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#32
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#32
Well, it's clearly rubbish.
I mean, look who they put first:p:
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CasinoBrawl
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#33
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#33
Queen Mary is six places higher up than it was in the one that came out earlier this year :eyeball:
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Aphotic Cosmos
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#34
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#34
Oh no. Leicester is joint 20th.

My life is over before it has begun.

:rolleyes:
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Aphotic Cosmos
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#35
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#35
(Original post by CasinoBrawl)
Queen Mary is six places higher up than it was in the one that came out earlier this year :eyeball:
The Times and Sunday Times have different tables. Leicester is 15th in The Times, joint 20th in the Sunday Times.

IMHO, to get any kind of truth from the league tables, you should look at all 4 major British ones. The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian and Independent. Combine the four and you'll get a pretty good idea of a university's position, if not much else.
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Good bloke
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#36
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#36
(Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
Combine the four and you'll get a pretty good idea of a university's position, if not much else.
Please, please tell me you are not advocating a league table of league tables. Please.
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Aphotic Cosmos
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#37
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#37
(Original post by Good bloke)
Please, please tell me you are not advocating a league table of league tables. Please.
You know it! \o/
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Simplicity
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#38
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#38
26 :facepalm2:
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T. Hereford
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#39
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#39
(Original post by jamz0770)
Haha, I'm having a read now. It seems quite thorough has a profile for every university in the country.
Enjoy reading

Right, I'm back from church and Tesco's Express and scanning it as I write!!!

I'm really surprised LSE has fallen out of the top 5!!!!! :eek3: I'm surprised it's #9!!!!! :eek3:

I thought LSE was one of the G5 universities. Can anyone expalin why it's fallen out of the top 5. What unis are classed as the G5 now?
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CasinoBrawl
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#40
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#40
(Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)
The Times and Sunday Times have different tables. Leicester is 15th in The Times, joint 20th in the Sunday Times.

IMHO, to get any kind of truth from the league tables, you should look at all 4 major British ones. The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian and Independent. Combine the four and you'll get a pretty good idea of a university's position, if not much else.
Oh no, I know they're different, I was just surprised. I guess that 30 sounds about right, though.
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