DUB Speak

India Today- Nielsen Survey: Of unclear methodology and perfect scores

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

It is possibly one of India Today’s most awaited issues, the Best Colleges Survey undertaken in a joint effort by India Today and AC Nielsen is a yearly feature released weeks, if not days, before most colleges in the country open admissions for the new academic session.

Here, we bring to your attention the methodology to point to how these rankings may be optimal in relative terms but not necessarily so in absolute terms. This is not to discredit the colleges that featured on the various lists.
Other publications like Outlook also publish an annual survey and it is more or less the same colleges that feature at the top; clearly, the rankings is based on substantive data. But focusing on the colleges in the Arts, Science and Commerce streams, each of which is topped by a Delhi University college with a 100/100 score, we try to understand the methodology that goes into the score calculation and whether, in spite of the rankings in the different parameters and the overall ranking of 1st position, a full score is suitable or not.

According to the methodology followed for Arts, Science and Commerce colleges, a list of colleges was drawn up  from 17 cities across the country and this list sent to ‘experts’ in those 17 cities along with a standard questionnaire. This was the procedure followed for city-wise rankings. In the second stage, the ranking was done for the nation-wide list, this time by a panel of experts at the national level. By experts, the survey means Principals, Vice-Principals, HODs and Deans and to eliminate bias, they were asked to not rate their respective colleges. Over 1250 expert opinions were taken overall.

The various parameters like reputation, academic input, student care, infrastructure, placement, perceptual rank are then supplemented by a factual rank.  In the case of Arts colleges, it is interesting to note that Lady Shri Ram College has a full score of 100 and Loyola College which is ranked second has a score of 91.8 but in terms of parameter-wise ranking, Loyola is ranked 1st in all parameters except factual rank where it stands 17th and LSR stands 1st. Similarly, amongst the Science colleges, St. Stephen’s College has a score of 100 which is closely followed by Loyola at 99.26 but again, Loyola is ranked 1st in all parameters but the factual ranking where it stands 15th and Stephen’s 8th. It is Ramjas College from DU which has a factual rank of 1 and is in the 5th position with a score of 83.63. In Commerce, we have a neat case of SRCC  having been ranked 1st across all parameters with a score of 100 and LSR follows with an 87.30 and 2nd position in all parameters except factual ranking where it stands 3rd and Christ University, Bangalore stands 1st. Clearly, the system of parameters and the concept of perceptual and factual rank need to be explained better to allow for a more informed analysis of the rankings and the scores.

Lady Shri Ram College, St. Stephen’s College and Shri Ram College of Commerce have scored an outstanding 100 out of 100 in Arts, Science and Commerce respectively. While these are known to be the ‘top’ colleges, and are almost certainly so in relation to the other colleges surveyed, two things need to be considered- the ambiguity of the parameter-wise ranking system and the credibility of the full scores. Surely, even students from these colleges would admit that the institutes (like all institutes all over the world), have scope for improvement. Again, this is not to discredit the colleges ranked at the top but to question the process by which the scores were arrived at.

[email protected]; Alankrita is a student of Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Technology is one thing that terrifies her and at the helm of a good old newspaper is where she hopes to be one day. Reading, writing and holidaying (not necessarily in that order) are her favourite things to do. If not a journalist, she would be a politician, as goes the trend.

Comments are closed.