Admission to George Washington University

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The George Washington University admissions team is under fire for misreporting class rank data (photo credit: Pjn1990).

Remember the Claremont McKenna admissions scandal? Well, Claremont McKenna has some new company as George Washington University is under fire for misreporting class rank. GW incorrectly reported the percentage of members of the Class of 2015 who hail from the top 10% of their graduating high school classes. The university had reported that 78% of students graduated in the top 10% of their high school classes when in fact the correct number is 58%. Quite the discrepancy — especially when class rank is a factor in the “US News & World Report” college rankings, right?

According to “The Washington Post,” “[GW President Steven] Knapp attributed the mistake to a flaw in the school’s reporting methods. He said the university regretted the error and was taking steps to prevent it from happening again.” Uh huh. A flaw in the university’s reporting methods. It sounds like someone was intentionally misreporting the data to boost the university’s “US News & World Report” ranking. But we won’t know that for sure until we learn of a resignation in the GW admissions office, in all likelihood.

What exactly does a flaw in reporting methods mean anyway? They accidentally labeled a huge percentage of their students as graduates in the top 10% of their high school classes? How does that even happen — by a flaw in one’s reporting system? The answer seems fairly obvious. It’s not a flaw. Call it what it is, GW. It’s false reporting. Own it, fire the person or people involved in the scandal, and move on. “US News & World Report” tends not to punish the universities that misreport data, but we think this should change. Operantly condition these universities, “US News.” Force them to be honest in their reporting.


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