The University finds little stock in a survey ranking schools with the “worst reputation,” which Seton Hall topped.
“The Top 50 Colleges with the Worst Reputation” was originally posted on a website called Students Review and was reposted on universityprimetime.com. The Students Review website features “perceptual” rankings controlled by users which categorize schools based on student votes.
“We don’t monitor them at all,” website creator Beracah Yankama said. “We allow people to make their own rankings.”
In a response to the Students Review website, the University released a statement: “The University is aware of ‘Students Review,’ but does not value its content because its posts appear to be unmoderated, unscientific and low in content.”
Yankama also revealed that it is possible for people to vote multiple times for one school. Although individuals are limited in the number of votes they can cast, more than one person could team up to target a single university.
“That’s happened at a lot of schools,” he said. Assistant professor Dr. Robert Kelchen, who recently won an award for best data journalism from the Education Writers Association for his work on rankings, said that the nature of the data on the website is fundamentally problematic.
“I don’t see any evidence of accuracy on this website,” he said, “These are just people voting multiple times and we have no idea how accurate this is.” Yankama said that all perceptual ranking categories are created by users.
“I just tell students whenever they see websites like this, they should always look to see who is contributing and also why they might want to contribute,” Kelchen said.
The twitter account @CanSHUNot clarified that it retweeted the ranking because it was presented to them by a student. In a direct message, the account owner said that they never seek out these articles, but “it’s important for our followers to know that people are expressing negative experiences through popular college review websites.”
Mary Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.