Universities should only be ranked on one aspect: Graduate prospects. If a university is good its graduates will find a good job or PhD. According to the Guardian League Table we are joint 1st with Cambridge for "Career Prospects".
If we are going to include other measurements we might as well look at the Virgin Alternative League Tables where Imperial will never do well!
I'm clearly missing something - we are within the top four (+ two top spots) for every engineering discipline, second in chemistry, computing and physics and not doing badly in the other subjects (except maths - but thats another story). So how come we finish 6th when ~75% of our course are top 3...?
confused.com: the observer ranked oxford above cambridge while they ranked cambridge number one in over half the subjects, the remaining top spots were not dominated by oxford. Not really much rhyme or reason to the tables.
so if a lot of students enter a university with poor A-levels and get good honours then the university's value added gets bumped up. The Guardian say they use a "sophisticated methodology" and assess it on a "like-for-like basis".
So universities with very high value added scores either give good honours to any old joker, are very good at teaching, or a combination of both. How the hell can you rank Portsmouth above Warwick, Durham and Imperial for maths, based almost entirely on the fact that one stands a better chance of good honours there? nuts, in fact, bats**t insane.
Also, maths is given 10 for student spend for mathematics. as a mathematics student, I don't know what they spend that money on. printing problem sheets? installing revolving doors in huxley?
I'm looking at the league table for Chemical Engineering right now, and from what I can see, the "superior" Manchester university has only outscored Imperial on % Job Prospects (cough); we trump them on everything else - they are still ranked above us?
Likewise Cambridge; in fact they don't have scores for % Satisfied with teaching, % Satisfied with Assessment, Student:staff ratio, Job Prospects, and they are ranked top of the charts?
What on earth were these guys smoking before compiling all this?
The "methodology" they use seems to indicate that more popular subjects (i.e film and media) are "worth" more than many of the courses Imperial offers - hence universities offering these "popular courses" are likely to score higher in the overall rankings. Madness and frankly quite wrong...