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How are university grades compiled?


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How are university grades compiled?


Among the most popular and respected ratings of universities in the UK are the following electronic and printed publications:

  • The Times (Good University Guide)
  • The Guardian (The Guardian University Guide)
  • The Independent (The Complete University Guide).

It is noteworthy that, despite the fact that they all rely on the same information from sources, their results and ratings may differ. In this article we will consider what factors influence the place of the university in the ranking, from which its position is formed and on what its prestige can depend.

Why do the results of the ratings differ?

The difference lies in the methodology, objectives and objectives of each publication: they influence the selection of the most important criteria. Each of the ratings relies on its own method, its own set of mandatory, key rules and postulates that each university must match - different methods give different results. For example, the position of the university in the final list does not necessarily mean that it is equally successful in teaching all subjects and disciplines: scientific research and projects in different fields can be on completely different levels, a certain subject area is to stand out or lag behind. Distinctions are also observed in the material and technical base, infrastructure equipment - and this factor evaluates each rating in its own way.

The Times (Good University Guide)

This publication produces two tables: general and specific in the subject areas. Places in the ranking are distributed according to the indicators that the university demonstrates by 8 key, key indicators:

  • Student Satisfaction - overall quality of programs, student satisfaction and feedback
  • Research Quality - the level of development of scientific research. It is determined by a two-stage calculation system - this is a quality indicator for each employee who can participate in RAE
  • Entry Standards - the level of admission requirements, the average score of applicants who chose this institution
  • Student-Staff Ratios = ratio of teachers and students: how many students on average account for each teacher (do not include employees who are engaged exclusively in scientific activities)
  • Services & Facilities Spend - the cost of developing the material and educational base (the figure is calculated for each student for the last 2 years)
  • Completion - the number of students who successfully completed the training program (the ratio of the expected percentage and the number of graduates of the previous year is calculated, taking into account those students who were transferred to another course, but were not expelled)
  • Good Honors - the ratio of diplomas with honors to other diplomas
  • Graduate Prospects - career prospects for students (ranked by 4 levels).

All the above indicators have their weight: basically it is the base one unit, but the Student Satisfaction and Research Quality indicators are considered slightly more priority and are estimated at 1.5 units. If desired, each user and applicant can electronically change the weight of each criterion in accordance with personal priorities, goals and objectives, each time getting the current position of the university in the current rating.

The Guardian (The Guardian University Guide)

This table rating covers the daily programs of British universities at the rate of the first higher education (bachelor's degree). The main criteria here are 6 (in brackets the weight of each criterion is given in the overall estimate):

  • Teaching quality - the quality of teaching, which is determined by good and excellent grades of students who completed a certain course (10%)
  • Feedback - academic support of students (it is also influenced by positive grades of graduates, 5%)
  • Spending per student - the cost of the university for each student (17%)
  • Value added - the quality and volume of the acquired knowledge, skills: determined by comparing the initial data of the students upon admission and their results at the release (17%)
  • Staff / student ratio - the ratio of teachers and students: how many students on average account for each teacher (17%)
  • Entry score - entrance requirements: average score of entrants (17%)
  • Job prospects - career prospects. It is determined by the ratio of unemployed graduates to those who successfully found a job in their specialty or decided to continue their education (17%).

Yes, in this rating there are no such important indicators as, for example, research activity. It is believed that for general education, the overall quality of teaching and the competent organization of the educational process are more important, and the level of research activity is more important for students of master's or graduate courses.

Also, in electronic format, it is possible to vary the importance of each criterion depending on one's own preferences, thereby each time getting the actual result in accordance with your needs and goals.

How to work with the ratings of universities?

  • Remember that the rating results are always explained by the choice of the research method: each source chooses its most important, priority criteria through which it passes the main array of information, processing it using the chosen methodology
  • Perhaps no university can be perfect in everything. Check: it's possible that the university was in the rating at a lower position than you expected, but it was the most important criteria for you that he rated very highly
  • When choosing a program and a specialty, rely not only on official ratings and reviews - listen to yourself: formulate your goals and priorities as clearly as possible, chart the ways to achieve them, and go ahead only!
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