Schools of Thought

Emory University employees released false school ranking data

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) - For about a decade, Emory University employees released false data that was used to determine college rankings, Emory President James Wagner disclosed last week.

The university employees responsible for releasing the data no longer work for the Atlanta university. Here's how the data was fudged, according to the university's website: Instead of reporting only the scores of enrolled students, it included data from students who were admitted, but decided to attend college elsewhere. The university also didn't include data from the bottom 10% of its students.

For the past two years, Emory has ranked 20th on U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges guide. That intentional omission of SAT and ACT scores, GPAs and class rankings might have made Emory's student body look better on paper, but it didn't have much of an impact on the magazine's 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. We will continue to review the matter, "  editor and chief content officer Brian Kelly said on the magazine's blog.

Emory's website says the misreporting only pertained to data about its undergraduates, not its graduate and professional degree programs.

The university says it has developed a plan to ensure that controls are in place to prevent misreporting in the future.

"These actions were clearly very disappointing and not consistent with Emory’s high standards of ethical conduct and professional integrity," the university statement said. "Since these are personnel matters, we do not intend to publicly name the employees involved. The individuals involved are no longer employed by Emory."