Methodology

This year’s rankings are based on objective measurements of four components of quality: employability, research productivity, faculty qualifications, and the fill rate.  Two of these, employability and research productivity, are measures of outcomes. One, faculty qualifications, measures the quality of a key input to the learning experience. And, one – fill rate, measures students’ demand for education at the institution. Each of these four components is scored on a scale of zero to ten. Ten represents the best performance on each component and zero represents the worst. The weights on each component were chosen through a statistical process that we explain later.  The weights are: employability – 50%, research productivity – 25%, faculty qualifications – 15% and fill rate – 10%.  We only considered colleges that have received some institutional or programmatic accreditation.

 

Faculty Qualifications

 

Faculty are the core of any college or university.  They are responsible for developing and delivering the curriculum, mentoring and assessing students, and helping the student develop to his or her potential. The qualifications of faculty are thus critical to your college experience.

 

We obtained faculty qualifications data from institutional submissions and websites.  We provided every institution an opportunity to check and update their own data, with evidence (such as faculty rosters) provided for any changes.  From these data, we computed the percentage of engineering faculty with PhDs, and the percentage at the full and associate professor rank (as opposed to assistant professor, lecturer, etc.).  In all cases, only data from faculty in engineering departments were used; other department faculty did not enter into the rankings.

 

We averaged the percent of PhDs (with a weight of 70 percent) and the percentage of full and associate professors (with a weight of 30 percent) to make a combined faculty scale.  We assigned the highest scoring five percent of institutions a score of ten and the lowest scoring five percent a score of zero, with all institutions in between assigned arranged evenly between zero and ten based on their scores. A score of ten represents the highest value of each faculty indicator; a score of zero represents the lowest possible value.

 

Research Productivity

 

To remain at the cutting edge of their fields, faculty conduct scholarly research in their area of specialization. Research also enriches the intellectual and learning environment of the college. Thus, measures of faculty research productivity are also important in selecting a college.

 

Research publications are catalogued by international services including Elsevier’s Scopus, which we used. We obtained records of indexed research publications over the period (2010 to 2014) and computed an index of the number of publications per college. Publishing research is important, but it is also important that research be used by other scholars in the field.  Scopus counts the number of times other publications cite specific publications and we accumulated the total number of citations that each college attracted over the same five-year period.

 

We combined the indices of publications and citations into a research composite index in absolute terms as well the numbers per engineering faculty member. We averaged the absolute and per-faculty values to reflect that both total productivity as well as productivity per capita are important measures of research activity.  We converted that average to the zero to ten scale. A score of ten represents research performance in the top five percent of institutions while a score of zero represents no publications or citations in the period we tracked. Due to the tremendous variation in the level of research publication activity, we used a logarithmic transformation to place all the values on a manageable scale. Therefore, because of the logarithmic scale, an increase of one position on the scale is associated with approximately doubling the number of publications.  That is, a college scoring eight will have about twice the number of publications compared to a college scoring seven.

 

Fill Rates

 

Fill rate, which is the percentage of authorized capacity that the institution is able to convert into enrollment.  It is, thus, a measure of demand for the educational services of an institution.  While the fill rate cannot exceed 100 percent, and so does not measure true excess demand, rates below 100 percent are useful measures of excess supply.

 

Institutions with fill rates of 100 percent are assigned a score of ten.  The institutions with the lowest five percent of fill rates are assigned a score of zero and the institutions in between are assigned a number between zero and ten based on their fill rates.

 

Employability

 

The largest weight in our rankings has been given to employability. While an ideal measure of employability would include historical data on salaries, expected salaries, and job trajectories, there are challenges with obtaining such data reliably.  Our measure is, we believe, innovative and a relevant proxy. Our scores are based on reliable and verifiable third party inputs on performance of students at the placement level. Due to unreliability of small samples, we did not use data for any institutions where our sample size was not adequate.

We assigned the highest scoring five percent of institutions a score of ten and the lowest scoring five percent a score of zero, with all assigned institutions in between arranged evenly between zero and ten based on their test scores.

Overall Rankings

In order to produce overall rankings, we combined the four scores for employability, research productivity. faculty qualifications, and the fill rate.  We assigned the employability score a weight of 50 percent to represent its high importance. We weighted the other three scores according to a model we developed that relates these scores to employability scores.  The assigned weights are research productivity – 25 percent, faculty qualifications – 15 percent and fill rate – 10 percent.

We report the top 200 colleges, ranked one by one. After the top 200, differences among adjacent colleges typically become quite small.  In order not to overstate these very small differences, we cluster colleges after the top 200 into groups of 25.  The overall quality of colleges in each cluster should be considered as basically equivalent. Since the boundaries between clusters are arbitrary, colleges in adjacent clusters are extremely similar to each other, so you should generally treat colleges in the same cluster or adjacent clusters as holding the same rank.  The colleges within a cluster (or in adjacent ones) may differ on the individual scores for employability, faculty qualifications, research productivity, and fill rate.  So you may find certain colleges score slightly higher on one of these categories that is especially important to you.  The scores for each of the four categories are reported in the rankings table.  You can also see these scores as well as much more information on the pickacollege.in website.

In our ranking system, two outcome measures – employability and research productivity have high weights (50 percent and 25 percent, respectively).  While adequate research productivity data is available for every institution, for some institutions, employability data sample sizes are inadequate or not available .  In such cases, we can impute a measure of likely employability based on a statistical match with institutions that had similar scores on other parameters. However, we decided that it would not be fair to use imputed employability measures for institutions in the top 40 since the difference between the composite scores of institutions was small.   There are four such institutions that we did not rank, but which would likely be ranked somewhere within the top 40 institutions based on imputed employability scores.  Details of these institutions (in alphabetical order) are in the table below.

 

Name

Research Productivity

Faculty Qualification

Fill Rate

IIT, Gandhinagar

9

9

10

IIT, Indore

10

9

10

IIT, Jodhpur

9

8

10

IIT, Mandi

9

9

10

 

Using the scores and rankings

 

The EDU-RAND scores and rankings are a tool to help you select a college that best meets your educational objectives.

 

While the top-ranked colleges may attract attention, most of these are accessible only to students with top marks and exam scores.  In order to help all college-going students, we have scored and ranked about 700+ colleges. Regardless of your background and prior record, you will find colleges on the list that are open to you.

 

In particular, the rankings may help you identify quality colleges that you may not otherwise be familiar with.

 

You may want to look at the ranking and scores of the colleges near your home, or another part of the country where you would like to study.  By using the pickacollege.in website, you can customize your college search using multiple factors such as geographic location and streams offered, to help you select a set of colleges that is of interest to you.  Within that set, the ranking and scores will allow you to compare quality of colleges to make the decision that is best for you.

 

We wish you all the best in your college search!

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