Spring ranking: the Complete University Guide

Here's the first domestic league table of the season and once again it's the Complete University Guide which is first out of the stocks this year. Plus bonus features.

Happy days. It’s the first league table of the domestic season

Once again it’s the Complete University Guide which is first out of the blocks this year. The top 25 is as follows:

20172016Institution
11Cambridge
22Oxford
33London School of Economics
44Imperial College London
55St Andrews
65Durham
711Loughborough
87Warwick
99Lancaster
1013University College London
118Surrey
1211Bath
1310Exeter
1416East Anglia
1518Birmingham
1619Leeds
1714Southampton
1821Sussex
1920Edinburgh
1917York
2123King's College London
2125Nottingham
2322Kent
2415Bristol
2528,26Manchester, Newcastle

The new Complete University Guide for 2017 has, yet again Cambridge at the top of the heap for something like the 800th year (is this right? Ed). The top 10 is largely unchanged with Surrey and Exeter dropping out and being replaced by Loughborough and UCL. Overall though not much movement within the top 25 with Bristol being the only significant slider, down 9 places to 24.complete-university-guide

There is plenty of other analysis (including by subject, region and mission group)  and information on careers, fees etc. on the website.

The main table is based on ten measures: Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, Entry Standards, Student: Staff Ratio; Spending on Academic Services; Spending on Student Facilities; Good Honours degrees achieved; Graduate Prospects and Completion. It includes 127 institutions (with only a couple not playing ball). The 70 Subject Tables are based on five measures (Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects) and include 136 universities, university colleges and specialist higher education institutions (137 last year).

The rankings remain fairly stable with only about 20 institutions moving by 10-20 places and none rising or falling more than that.

Bonus ranking

As an exciting bonus this year CUG has provided a ranking of the relative effectiveness of universities in England and Wales in resolving student complaints:

The relative effectiveness of universities in England and Wales in resolving student complaints varies widely, according to an analysis of official data by the TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk.

TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk has analysed the Completion of Procedure Letters issued when internal complaints processes have concluded.

These are recorded and published annually by the Office of the Official Adjudicator (OIA), the body that seeks to resolve student complaints in England and Wales.

Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author of TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk, said: “It is a sad fact of life that disputes sometimes arise between students and the universities they have chosen to attend.

“Students need to know that their complaints are handled effectively and sympathetically. The data we have compiled shows clearly a significant variation between institutions in handling disputes before they escalate to the OIA or peter out.

“We are making no judgement about the outcome of the complaints and only a small proportion of the complaints referred to the OIA are upheld wholly or partially.

“But we are confident that this table, using a methodology that smooths out annual fluctuations and is adjusted for the size of the universities listed, is a reliable guide to the relative likelihood of complaints being resolved.”

Here’s the top 20 then of universities who have the fewest complaints going ‘all the way’ through their internal processes:

complaints

 

* Average of student numbers over three year period
** Completion of Procedures Letters issued after exhausting internal complaints process

At the other end of the table, the ten universities with the highest number of letters per 1,000 students over the period 2012-14 are:

Surrey (43.3)
Aston (44.7)
Cardiff (45.2)
Glyndŵr (46.7)
Newcastle (50.8)
Leicester (52.3)
London South Bank (56.3)
Liverpool (57.2)
Cardiff Metropolitan (64.7)
London Metropolitan (84.5)

What does this really tell us about these institutions? This data could mean that those at the top of the table have really very happy students, they are just great at responding to student concerns or that they are a really soft touch when it comes to dealing with complaints. And for those at the bottom, perhaps they are just really hard-nosed. Who knows. All good fun though.

So there’s the CUG for this year. Enjoy.

4 responses to “Spring ranking: the Complete University Guide

  1. It was inevitable that someone would make a table about the COP letters – after all, it’s a bit of data that you can find about all universities.

    I think this bit is quite wrong though:

    “But we are confident that this table, using a methodology that smooths out annual fluctuations and is adjusted for the size of the universities listed, is a reliable guide to the relative likelihood of complaints being resolved.”

    It is very clear that COP letters are being issued in different circumstances – the procedures that London Met are concluding must be very different to, say Derby, for there to be a eighty-fold difference in the proportion of letters.

    One interesting thing; at first I couldn’t find the complaint table as the link didn’t work, so I tried other links. If you click on “Why you can trust us” – you don’t really get an answer (just a history and staff list) but you do get to learn that the Complete University Guide was bought by Hotcourses last year. So that makes this a league table owned, in large part, by Jeremy Hunt. Which may give you an answer about whether you can trust them…

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