This is just a quick post prompted by the recent Times Higher Education (THE) ranking of university web sites according to sixth formers (‘Deciphering the code‘, 19 August 2010). There are of course – as most people acknowledge – serious methodological questions and caveats with most newspaper league tables, this one included. However, the impetus for this post is the misreading of these tables by various commentators (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty).
The misreading is that the list published in the original article is ordered alphabetically, rather than by total score (which the THE helpfully doesn’t report). It’s therefore completely erroneous to state for example, that Bangor ranks 3rd. It doesn’t; it’s (joint) 15th, along with my own institution (Swansea). Still worthy, but not quite so impressive as their alphabetical position might indicate!
So before others make the same mistake, and for everyone’s convenience, here’s the top 20, with total scores and ranked on the basis of this total: