Focus on Ethics

In June 2008, Oxford maintained Its superiority in the overall ranking of British universities, but Cambridge was the leader in individual subjects. It topped 37 of the 61 subject tables in The Times Good University Guide (http://www.timesonllne.co.uk). in the subjects where the two universities were In opposition, Oxford came out ahead only in anthropology, music, and politics. The publication's tables were improved in 2008 with the inclusion of satisfaction scores from a U.K. student survey. Undergraduates were asked to give their views on teaching standards, feedback from staff, academic support, the quality of learning resources, and how their courses contributed to their personal development. Some of the employment scores published were significant as well. For example, Brighton University had the highest proportion of English graduates going into graduate-level jobs over the course of the previous four years. Strathclyde University had the best record for French, with 95 percent of graduates recording similar success in the latest national survey of graduate employment.

1. Does The Times Good University Guide explain its ranking criteria and how the data is collected? Describe how the data is collected and critique the information for its usefulness.

2. Since 2004, the Ranking Web (http://www.webometrics.info) has been published twice a year. This ranking claims to have the greatest coverage, with more than 16,000 higher education institutions worldwide listed. What are its criteria for the rankings, and are they open to abuse?

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