Another Rankings Fabrication

George Washington University on Thursday became the third private university this year to admit that it has been reporting incorrect information about its new students — both on the university's website and in information provided to U.S. News & World Report for rankings.

In the case of GW, the university — for at least a decade — has been submitting incorrect data on the class rank of new students. For the most recent class of new students, George Washington reported that 78 percent of new students were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. The actual proportion of such students is 58 percent.

According to the university, the problem was identified over the summer when a new provost reorganized admissions functions, and reviewed admissions statistics. The university found that for applicants whose high schools don't calculate ranks (a growing trend among high schools), the university estimated the class rank, based on grades and other factors. That policy is not permitted by U.S. News. After finding out what had been going on with class rank, the university had an outside audit done of all admissions data that is reported (including SAT scores) and found no other problems.

George Washington's announcement follows the news this year that Claremont McKenna College and Emory University also reported incorrect data for years.

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