Tony Martin

Uni boycotts ratings guide

CQUNIVERSITY has been left out of the latest edition of the Good Universities Guide (GUG).

A spokeswoman for the publisher said the university had not provided the relevant data this year.

But CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the decision not to provide the data was deliberate because the guide was "an utterly unreliable and flawed source of performance data".

He said the guide did the sector irreparable harm each year.

"I will not acknowledge our high star scores just as I refuse to accept our one-star scores," he said.

"In fact this year I went a step further and boycotted the release of survey data to the GUG , meaning CQUniversity recorded 'not rated' entries for learning and teaching.

"A case of sour grapes? Maybe. But there are now a handful of highly reputable universities who, just like us, are no longer taking part in the statistical vandalism that is the GUG."

Prof Bowman said an example of the methodological nonsense peddled by the GUG was that several key measures of graduate experience (overall satisfaction, teaching quality and generic skills) in the GUG were derived from the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS), a national census of recent graduates from degree programs.

"The AGS is governed by a Code of Practice, agreed by all Australian universities," he said.

"The AGS provides raw data for the GUG but, importantly, it is then misused and misrepresented by the GUG."

Prof Bowman said the AGS data for overall satisfaction, for instance, was based on percentage satisfaction with CQUniversity scoring 81% or so in the last two surveys.

"In fact, all Australian universities sit within a band from around 77% to 88%.

"This shows that in general, four out of every five graduates from Australian universities are satisfied with the overall quality of their education."

But he said the GUG took this data and sliced it to exclude all postgraduate and sub-degree students, excluding just over half of higher education graduates, and then it ranked these from highest to lowest, assigning a five-star score to the top quintile (those over 85%) and a one-star score to the lowest quintile - those around 80%.

"They then confuse their readers by describing these scores as 'ratings', when clearly they are rankings," Prof Bowman said.

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