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Imperial 5th in flawed Guardian rankings

May 02 2006 10:14
Ashley Brown
Education Guardian has released its 2006 University league tables, with Imperial falling to fifth place overall despite having higher scores in the individual rankings.
The Guardian's numbers don't add up.

University league tables often cause much argument, due to disagreements about the methodologies used to create them. This year?s Guardian league tables,,1595180,00.html are much the same, with London Metropolitan University refusing to appear in them due to a ?profound disagreements? with the way the study is conducted.

Imperial gets placed 5th overall, behind Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and UCL, despite having higher values for each separate ranking which makes up the total. Indeed, taking the individual rankings for staff quality, spend per student, graduate employment etc and employing the Guardian weightings gives a very different order.

In Engineering subjects, Imperial takes first place in "Computer Sciences and IT" and Civil Engineering, coming in second place for most others - although at the time of writing some areas such as Aeronautics were not shown on the website.

The Sussex Chemistry department, which faced closure before the Vice Chancellor was dragged in front of MPs to explain himself, is ranked third, just behind Imperial?s department.

The study was conducted by Campus Pi, the applied research department at Brunel University.

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Discussion about “Imperial 5th in flawed Guardian rankings”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
May 03 2006 14:06

I thought IC had a good maths department? It cant be that good considering it is just ahead of LSE in the subject rankings considering LSE dosen't offer undergraduate single honours maths degrees?.... or are the Guardian just s**t?

May 03 2006 14:20

The methodology used is flawed and their numbers don't add up either...

They rank the quality of staff based on the qualifications they have (and this info may well be out of date).

For the "institution wide" rankings, the "Institution Guardian score" doesn't relate to the individual scores, which they claim it does. If you take the rankings they give, then apply the weightings they give:

Imperial College - 78.63

Oxford - 77.70

Cambridge - 73.03

University College London - 69.80

LSE - 66.63

As opposed to their quoted results, which seem to have been picked out of thin air.

May 03 2006 15:04

Spend per student score: 9/6 ??

I don't think I'm going to bother with this, although, for the record, they don't have Aeronautical Engineering in the ranks.

May 03 2006 15:08

"Undergraduate applications in 2006 were up 8.1%, going against the national trend."

that's a lot actually.

5. Ruth   
May 05 2006 11:12

It's not like I'd trust anything I read in the Guardian anyway...

6. C!   
May 16 2006 12:38

from the guardian...

Thanks for your email. The weightings for the instiitutional score are done

by student numbers as a proportion of the whole undergraduate population.

Therefore the scores will be different. The weightings you use are for the

subjects tables only.

best wishes

Jimmy Leach


May 16 2006 12:42

That wasn't a very enlightening reply... do smaller institutions get a lower weight in that case?


8. C!   
May 16 2006 12:51

I think he meant they use the weightings to get the individual subject scores. then they weight the individual scores by proportion of students ie (number of eee students)/(number of ic students)

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