Fox loses No. 1 ranking for incorrect data

The Fox School of Business self-reported the data error to the U.S. News & World Report last week.

Fox School of Business’s Online MBA program lost its No. 1 ranking from the U.S. News & World Report on Jan. 25. The national recognition still appeared on signage, like this advertisement in Alter Hall, on Jan. 29. | ALYSSA BIEDERMAN / FILE PHOTO

The Fox School of Business’s online MBA is no longer ranked first in the nation after the business school “significantly overstated” data from 2017 to the U.S. News & World Report, according to a release from the outlet.

Fox self-reported the data error, and the program is now unranked for 2018.

According to Inside Higher Ed, part of the ranking formula gives extra weight to schools that had at least 75 percent of its new students submit their standardized test scores.

New students can report the results of standardized tests, like the GMAT or GRE. Fox said it submitted results from 100 percent of its new students, but in reality only 20 percent reported these results.

There were 255 entrants in the program this year.

The school originally submitted the data in Summer and Fall 2017 and “completed the data verification process, assuring U.S. News that the data were accurate,” according to the release. Fox then submitted its accurate data to be reviewed.

“It was our hope U.S. News & World Report would recalculate its rankings based upon the submission of revised data,” reads a statement from Fox Dean Moshe Porat. “However, we accept the U.S. News & World Report decision.”

It is unclear exactly how the error occurred, but, according to the statement, Temple has hired an outside firm “to review all of our school’s data reporting processes, including what happened in this instance, and to make appropriate recommendations.”

The statement did not name the firm that will investigate.

The school will remain unranked until the 2019 Online MBA rankings are released, as long as Fox confirms its next batch of data.

On Thursday, President Richard Englert started “the wheels turning” to bring in an independent reviewer to analyze the Online MBA information, a university spokesperson wrote in a statement. It will be a “comprehensive look” at the 2018 submission and prior years.

“The results of that review will go to the President, and he will take appropriate action based on those results,” the spokesperson added.

In the days since the U.S. News & World Report issued its release, questions have been raised by higher education outlets like Inside Higher Ed and Poets & Quants, a site that focuses on businesses schools.

A report by Poets & Quants found that Temple reported that 100 percent of its students had submitted test scores not only in 2017, but also the three years prior. But in 2013, it had only reported 25 percent of its students’ scores.

“Administrators at other schools say it would have been improbable, if not impossible, for a school to go from 25% to 100% in a single year between 2013 and 2014, or for that matter, to go to 19.6%  this past year from 100% a year earlier,” Poets & Quants reported.

Gillian McGoldrick contributed reporting

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