USNWR Graduation Rate Performance

 By Annie Davis Weber
Manager of Strategic Planning, Institutional Research, Effectiveness, & Planning
University of Mississippi
An Analysis of 2014 USNWR Rankings Graduation Rate Performance

The annual rankings published by U.S. News and World Report are always a source of interest to university leaders. This visualization is a page from a detailed analysis of each of the factors of the U.S. News ranking formula that compares the University of Mississippi to its peers in the Southern Universities Group (SUG). The graduation rate performance measure is the difference between the actual graduation rate of an institution and the graduation rate predicted by U.S. News. The page presents the differences between the two rates on the top, so that the reader can immediately see who is over- and under-performing. The graph on the bottom allows the reader to see the relationship of these performance gaps to the actual graduation rate. The color coding allows for a quick determination of who is over-performing (green) and who is under-performing (red). View Larger PDF Version (opens in new tab). 


*Equals Actual Six Year Grad Rate - Predicted Six Year Grad Rate






To add a comment, Sign In
Total Comments: 2
Jeff posted on 10/27/2015 12:56 PM
These displays illustrate an important concept, and does so in an effective manner. Performance is not just your graduation rate, but more importantly, how well you have supported your students in relation to what should be expected of them. The comparison to a predictive model of performance is very insightful.

From the graph, we can see that both actual and predicted performance varies widely from below 50% to over 90%. Clearly, there is more going on here than a comparison of similar universities with comparable students in comparable environments.

The gap between actual and predicted is well illustrated with a good use of colors, including the ability to easily find your own college (highlighted in yellow).

When you open up the larger PDF link, it is actually a side-by-side dashboard that is actually easier to work with than the top to bottom comparison above. The side-by-side dashboard allows the user to more easily learn what is going on, than having to scroll up and down when comparing the graphs above.
Mike posted on 12/10/2015 5:18 PM
Nice graph, familiar data but cleverly arranged and color-coded. I think the bottom graph would be better if it were ordered by predicted graduation rate rather than actual, similar to how if you graph the residual or error terms from a regression, you want to put predicted graduation rate on the horizontal axis, not actual graduation rate.