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The George Washington University Announces Changes to Class Rank Data After Review

November 08, 2012


Candace Smith                                                                                                                                
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WASHINGTON—The George Washington University today announced steps it has taken to correct a flaw in its collection and reporting of class rank data.  In a message to the George Washington University community, President Steven Knapp underscored his commitment to ensuring that the university maintain the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in all of its communications.

“I deeply regret this error and want to assure you that corrective action has been taken and safeguards put into place to prevent such errors from occurring in the future,” said George Washington University President Steven Knapp.

This past summer, university Provost Steven Lerman reorganized the university’s undergraduate enrollment management functions under new leadership.  In the process, the provost’s office reviewed the university’s admissions statistics and found a flaw in the method used to determine the percentage of incoming freshmen who rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class.  Upon closer review of the records, the percentage of the incoming freshmen for the class of 2015 in the top 10 percent of their class was found to be 58 percent rather than the  78 percent that had been reported. 

Class rank is one of many statistics the university reports to U.S. News & World Report.  University officials have informed U.S. News of the error and provided corrected data for the class of 2015.

After identifying the flaw in class rank data in late August, the university engaged the audit firm Baker Tilly Beers & Cutler to review undergraduate enrollment data the university provides annually to the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. News & World Report and other entities.  The assessment revealed no reporting issues other than class rank.  The data reviewed included the number of applications, the acceptance rate, the percentage of accepted students who enrolled, high school class rank and SAT/ACT scores. 

The university undertook a series of corrective actions and has put into place safeguards to ensure the integrity of future reporting.  The corrective actions are:

• The Office of Academic Planning and Assessment will now have oversight for data collected by the Admissions Office.
• All admissions data will be externally audited on a regular basis.
• The Office of the Provost is in the process of hiring a new leader for enrollment management who will oversee the admissions office.

Additional Information
Letter from President Steven Knapp to the GW Community 
George Washington Today Interview with Senior Vice Provost Forrest Maltzman, who has been overseeing the Admissions Office since July