Friday, March 25, 2005

Misleading Statistics

An editorial (unposted) in today's News & Record cites six year graduation rates for several of the final 16 teams in this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament. UNC-Chapel Hill and Michigan State rank at the top with rates around 65%. Kentucky and Syracuse are at the bottom with rates below 20%.

What most readers will not understand is how those percentages are calculated. Once a student enrolls at a school, that person must graduate from that university within six years for the school to get credit. A student-athlete who transfers to another school and graduates still counts as a non-graduate against his/her original school. Including this clarification in the editorial would have been helpful.

Perhaps it would be more useful to compare the six year graduation rate for a sports team against the six year graduation rate for the entire student body.


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