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Explaining Why Kent Dropped 19 Places in Complete University Guide Ranking

Explaining Why Kent Dropped 19 Places in Complete University Guide Ranking

The University of Kent has dropped 19 places in the recently released Complete University Guide League Table for 2019. Falling from 25th in 2018 tables to 44th in the most recent release. This is the lowest position the University has held in the past decade. This shocking news is the first and only result yet received about the University’s overall rankings for 2019, as other prominent League Tables likes the Guardian and the Times Higher Education have yet to be released.

The reasons behind this fall is, according to Paul Greatrix of the University of Nottingham, ‘due to an increase in Student-Staff Ratio’, suggesting that the universities had fallen due to a larger group of students relative to each member staff. The Universities current student-staff ratio, according the CUG collection, is 18.4, meaning that for each staff member there are currently 18.4 students.

Although these figures suggest that each student would have less contact time with academic and university staff, the CUG states in its criterion that ‘A low student to staff ratio does not guarantee good quality of teaching or good access to staff’. Many ranking tables even dispute the necessity and impact of this feature, with the Guardian arguing that the ratio of the number of staff to students does not accurately reflect teaching intensity and does not reveal who is performing the teaching. The University of Kent’s research and teaching intensity is still incredibly high, ranking 0.85 out of 1.00, its teaching quality is ranked as Gold by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and, most importantly, it’s graduate prospects is rated 82.4 out of 100.0. This drop in one area does not necessarily reflect the overall quality of the University.

Comparing Kent to other universities both higher and lower in the ranking,  highlights, as the Guardian suggests, how the ranking system does not necessarily reflect quality. The University of Lincoln which now sits one place above Kent on the table has lower Graduate Prospects at 76.0 and St George’s University of London, placed at 52nd, has Graduate Prospects of 93.6. St George’s is an enlightening comparison to Kent’s recent development. Despite falling from 34th place in 2014 to 52nd in 2019, the University’s quality has not fallen as a result.

The University of Kent is not alone in this development. As Greatrix also points out, the University of Hull has had a similar fate, dropping from 74th to 94th place. Other universities have also had severe drops for other reasons. Both Falmouth University and City, University of London have fallen between 24 and 27 places respectively, along with Middlesex University, which had the most severe drop of 32 places, all due to a ‘decrease in Graduate Prospects’.

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  1. So you explain that some questionable form of analysis to do with a student/staff ratio “could be” the reason, then proceed to pull random statistics from across the university, that might indicate something other than stagnation and say “well other universities seem to be inexplicably falling in the charts for this same unverified reason”? Forgive me if this all seems a little far-fetched.

  2. Hi Jacob.

    Just to clarify, the statistics we used are not randomly chosen, they are from the Complete University Guide’s methodology and are the tools used to create the University’s ranking for the 2019 League Table. The judgement that the universities fall due to it’s staff-student ratio is based upon the statistical evidence presented to us. When we compare the figures from the 2018 League Table and the 2019 table, we can see that the only drastic change is in the staff student ratio. In 2018, the figure stood at 13.3 and in the 2019, this figure now stands at 18.4. The quote we used from Paul Geatrix was only used to support the judgement and further clarify the situation. Other figures such as the university’s research quality at 2.95 and research intensity at 0.85 have remained exactly the same. There have been minor changes in other factors such as student satisfication changing from 4.13 to 4.04 and degree completetion from 90.4 to 88.3, but these are small developments when compared to the major drop from 13.3 to 18.4. In some areas the University of Kent has actually increased, for example in Graduate Prospects in which the university has improved 80.5 to 82.4. The developments vary, but none would have had such a severe impact as the student-staff ratio.

    The comparisons we made with other universities was not used to show that staff-student ratio has become a universal issue, instead it was to reflect that Kent is not alone in the rapid movements on the 2019 League Tables. It is unusal for university’s to fall or rise so dramatically on League Tables, so the comparison was simply being made to exemplify that on this current league table there was other instances of rapid change and Kent is not a sole victim.

    It is also worth consider that this ranking is only reflective of the University’s overall ranking, and not reflective of its subject areas or many other aspects. Many of the changes in subjects have been illustrated in another article of Inquire’s:

    I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, and I hope this helps.

    George D. Knight
    Head of Distributions, Inquire Media

  3. Why did city drop so much? they were top 40 last year and now they’re in the 60s. I looked everywhere to find an answer online but nothing showed up yet. i mean it is quite prestigious and its entry requirements aren’t to be taken lightly. you have anything that could explain this?


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