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Ranking Methodologies

StudentsReview is _not_ a forum disgruntled students. It is not even a forum at all. It is a professional service that is gathering and disseminating useful data to prospective college students.

Over the past few months, several individuals have expressed concern with our ranking methodologies.
We would like to take this moment to clarify that "we" are not ranking universities. "We" are collecting data in which students have critiqued their own university. That is all. We make no attempts to categorize or rate one as better than another -- by any stretch of imagination. We are trying to show prospective college students what current college students have to say - as a helpful and informative resource to picking a school.

That being said, I'd like to continue to discuss our methodologies.
Methodologies
StudentsReview gathers data. This data is given to us by self selected individuals, though we sequester as many people as possible to take our survey. The sampling of the people selected to be emailed is random, a reflection of students who maintain email accounts at their university (e.g. all students).
That is not to say that the data itself is random -- it is not. Anytime an individual selects themselves to do something, it is because of ulterior motives. In our case, the individual may either love, or hate the University in question. Unfortunately, it is students' negative comments that have caused our system to be called into question.

To offset this possibility, StudentsReview asks precise questions on its survey -- questions that were formed and refined by over 50 current college students. These questions single out elements that an individual may be pleased or displeased with, preventing them from giving a "glowing" or "hateful" review of a college.
e.g. "What is the % of professors that speak english clearly in your department?"
-or- "Rate the campus maintenance (A-F)"
Taken as a whole, the differences between these questions are what identify what is better at a University, and what needs work. Taken with a summation of other surveys, good and bad, the system provides a formidible force of data and student sentiment in every department, at every University.

We treat all surveys, good and bad with equal deference. Many times negative opinions of a service (one with a $60,000 price tag), contain more useful information than a positive opinion -- for instance, specifics, on what wasn't so great, whereas a positive opinion tends to read like "this was wonderful". But we treat them all equally. It is true that if enough negative people came on the system that StudentsReview would seem like a "forum disgruntled students", but then ask yourself, "why are there so many disgruntled students?". Each student can only survey once; that means that you are reading the disgruntled opinions of many many students. Don't disregard them as though they are tainted.

Concern has also been expressed about the ability for third parties manipulate and forge reviews. While currently it _is_ possible, our database system records enough information about the source of the 'review' to allow us to drop any erroneous or forged surveys easily when necessary. We also record the reviewers email address, so that should the time come when the validity of the data is challenged by a University, we can deliver a list of email addresses to the University for them to verify against their student body.

This system, in conjunction with a large and random sampling of reviews will allow us to clearly display to prospective students, parents, and current University administration, the high and low points of every department in their university, and the high and lows of the University as a whole, and its trends over time.

Until we get the large & random sampling of reviews (15% of current college students), StudentsReview is in 'Data Collection Mode'; we encourage you to take the aggregate numbers "with a grain of salt". However, it does not reduce the usefulness of the Student Comments (free response) section, where you can contact current students, ask questions, and see what they have to say.

Thank you for your time,
StudentsReview
Jack Caseton



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