Home Featured News CCSSE denounces WalletHub community college list for misusing survey data

CCSSE denounces WalletHub community college list for misusing survey data

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By Chris Powers – Web Editor

Last week’s WalletHub.com list that ranked Grand Rapids Community College poorly has been denounced by the source whose data was used.

On its website, the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCSSE) said the WalletHub article contains “multiple errors of fact and misuses of survey data.”

GRCC was ranked 661 out of 670 in a list from WalletHub which relied heavily on CCSSE data. The list compared only 670 of the more than 1,100 member colleges of the American Association of Community Colleges because the remainder didn’t participate in the CCSSE survey.

CCSSE’s statement read, in part:

“WalletHub.com’s rankings in large part were created through misuse of data drawn from the CCSSE website that were combined with other data likely from different timeframes. The ranking method thus is based on an illogical calculation combining CCSSE results and other data. There are so many things about this approach that are statistically inappropriate that it is impossible to overstate how spurious the results really are.”

GRCC Dean of Student Success and Retention John Cowles didn’t trust the ranking from the beginning and told The Collegiate last week that the WalletHub list compared “apples to kiwis.”

The Collegiate reported last week that the data may have been misused when it was discovered such rankings were against CCSSE’s Responsible Uses of Survey Data policy.

WalletHub told The Collegiate last week that the data was used responsibly because it was used in combination with data from other sources.

“A larger issue is that the reporter uses CCSSE benchmark data from different years as if the data were equivalent and directly comparable,” CCSSE wrote. “This is simply not mathematically or statistically correct, as each year of reported data is standardized based upon the most recent three-year cohort of participating colleges.”

According to the CCSSE, WalletHub did not contact them prior to the release of the list. If they had, this confusion could have all been avoided.