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Questions and Answers About Data Reporting

Q: What kinds of misreporting did the University’s investigation find?

Updated Aug. 19, 2012

Emory misreported admitted student SAT/ACT data where enrolled student data was being requested since at least 2000. Emory also misreported top decile entering student data for the same time period although the methodology used to produce those data was less clear. At one time, Emory may have excluded the scores of the bottom ten percent of students when reporting SAT/ACT scores, GPAs, and the top decile. Evidence showed this practice of exclusion was not followed after 2004.

UPDATE: The reporting issues concerned only undergraduate students. Emory’s graduate and professional programs utilize separate admissions offices and procedures, and these findings in no way relate to data concerning graduate and professional admissions.

Q: Who knew about this misreporting?

Aug. 17, 2012

The Emory Office of General Counsel conducted an internal investigation, and engaged an outside firm, Jones Day, to ensure independence and objectivity. Jones Day found that previous leadership in the University’s Office of Admissions, serving Emory College of Arts and Sciences, and the University’s Office of Institutional Research participated in this misreporting. The investigation found no basis to conclude that any member of the Provost’s, Dean’s or President’s Offices understood that data was being misreported, directed employees to misreport data, or coerced staff to do so.

Q: What are the standard statistical sources to whom these erroneous data have been reported?

Aug. 17, 2012

They include the Common Data Set, IPEDS, and a variety of individual publications and web sites.

The Common Data Set (CDS) is a collaborative effort between the higher education community and publishers including the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. See

IPEDS is the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. It is a system of interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). See

Q: Have you submitted corrected data to any of these sources?

Aug. 17, 2012

The IPEDS survey does not open for new submissions until September, at which time we will be able to both correct the current year’s data (2010), and submit new data for the 2011 year. The various individual publications and web sites have various deadlines throughout the year. We did submit correct data for 2011 to U.S. News & World Report in early June.

Of course, we will submit corrected data to each publisher and data source as its deadline rolls around for new submissions.

In addition to the current 2011 Common Data Set, we are adding corrected versions of Emory’s 2010 and 2009 Common Data Set to our website.  See We believe three years’ worth of data provide ample basis for students, parents, guidance counselors and principals to evaluate the competitiveness and appropriateness of Emory for aspiring students.

Q: How did Emory misreport this data?

Aug. 17, 2012

The following charts compare the initial, misreported 2010 and 2009 data, alongside the corrected data included in the 2010 and 2009 Common Data Sets posted on Emory’s website.

SAT Data (25th Percentile – 75th Percentile)


Data Initially Misreported on CDS

Corrected Data


1310 – 1500

1270 – 1460


1300 – 1480

1260 – 1440

Top Decile Data (percent of entering students graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, from those high schools reporting class rank)


Data Initially Misreported on CDS

Corrected Data








Q: Will Emory’s ranking in U.S. News & World Report drop as a result of correcting your data?

Aug. 17, 2012

We have no way of knowing that. Certain aspects of the U.S. News ranking formula are proprietary and cannot be duplicated by outsiders. We expect to learn what the results are of this correction along with the rest of the world when the new Best Colleges guide is published in September.

Q. Which U.S. News & World Report ranking does this apply to?

Aug. 17, 2012

The admissions statistics in question apply to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guide which ranks national universities on the basis of their four year undergraduate programs. This does not involve Emory’s graduate programs, professional schools, or hospitals, all of which are ranked separately by U.S. News & World Report and a variety of other publications.

Q: Has Emory been over-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the past due to these erroneous submissions?

Updated Aug. 18, 2012

Again, we have no way of knowing that. We have submitted corrected data and we will have to see how our ranking changes, if at all, going forward. Having slightly lower SAT and Top Decile data will count against Emory in the selectivity ranking; but over time, those same lower indicators may improve Emory’s scores in the graduation performance category.

UPDATE: U.S. News and World Report has posted a statement about Emory on its College Rankings blog. View the statement on

Q: Has anyone lost their job or been disciplined?

Aug. 17, 2012

These actions were clearly very disappointing and not consistent with Emory’s high standards of ethical conduct and professional integrity. Since these are personnel matters, we do not intend to publicly name the employees involved. The individuals involved are no longer employed by Emory.

Q: What is Emory doing to make sure this never happens again?

Aug. 17, 2012

The Provost’s Office has adopted a Corrective Action Plan for Data Collection and Reporting, which is posted on our website at There are three important facets of this plan which address the issues of internal controls, personnel, and supporting a culture of integrity and open communication within the Office of Admission and the University. All of these elements are important and will receive heightened attention as we go forward.

Additional Information

Emory Announces Findings in Data Review

Letter From President James W. Wagner

Corrective Action Plan for Data Collection and Reporting