There have been four recent incidents in which colleges misreported data used in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings, but Robert Morse, the publication's director of data research, maintains the breech in integrity does not reflect a trend.
In a blog post Thursday, Morse analyzes the cases of Tulane University, George Washington University, Emory University, and Claremont McKenna College, and says each school has provided an explanation as to what caused the misreporting and the situations vary.
Morse acknowledges an increased reliance on the data by families, academic researchers, and the schools' reputation. But, Morse writes: "We have no reason to believe that other schools have misreported dataand we therefore have no reason to believe that the misreporting is widespread."
There are consequences for schools that misreport data. The institutions are dropped from the rankings for the current year where the misreported data were originally included, and to be listed again the school must give assurances that the data it is providing are accurate, Morse says.