Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Weird Data

In a dataset of all U.S. colleges and universities, I decided to sort it based on a column for undergraduate enrollment. A single school popped up with only one enrolled student, the Institute for Advanced Medical Esthetics in Richmond, Virginia. No, I did not make up that name. Click on the link and see for yourself. This number makes no sense to me, and take it as a lesson in doubting data just as you'd scrutinize any source. Maybe there is only one student, but that seems unlikely. It is based on 2013 data and perhaps the school was just getting started.

(By the way, the largest listed, with 166,816 students, was no surprise -- University of Phoenix--Online campus. Next was Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana with 87,017 students. Wow).

Post-Debate SLOPs

A SLOP is a self-selected opinion poll, usually conducted online at some web site, and are excellent examples of crappy polls based on biased samples. The only people who participate are those who frequent a site, and if it's partisan you know the direction they'll lean, and those who bothered enough to take part. A real sample is random, or as close as we can get it, with people having a more-or-less equal chance of being included.

That brings us to last night's first presidential debate and the subsequent polls -- legitimate, and less so -- that quickly emerged.

CNN/ORC is usually first with these snap polls and it showed Clinton "won" the debate. OK, no surprise there to the casual viewer, especially as Trump unraveled a bit at the end. But what also emerged was a reliance by Trump supporters on a host of SLOPs that showed -- shocker -- Trump won. See a tweet below.


Does it shock anyone, for example, that folks who visit Drudge thought that Trump overwhelmingly won? Or Brietbart? Some more legitimate sites like CNBC, Time, and Fortune have it closer, but these are still SLOPs. They may measure enthusiasm, or a fanbase likely to bother voting on such things, but they don't measure by any stretch of the imagination public opinion about who "won" a debate.

Never pay attention to SLOPs. And news orgs should never use them and, if they do for the hell of it, should never report on them as being meaningful.

Was the CNN/ORC poll biased? It does include more Dems than Republicans, but it reflects the population it's trying to describe -- people who reported watching the debate. Maybe more Trump fans were watching NFL football. I dunno. A later poll, using real methodology, also found Clinton won (though not by quite as big a margin). In other words, real polls find Clinton won. Polls with absolutely no methodological rigor find Trump won. You decide which to believe.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Earnings and Repaying Loans

Another day of playing with data, this time looking at how Georgia colleges rank in terms of earnings and percent who repay loans. No surprise, the two lists are similar. In other words, the more graduates make from a school, the better that school's loan repayment numbers. But that's not always the case. Below I provide the Top 10 in Georgia by earnings and, in the column next to it, the ranking of that school in loan repayments. A few jump out at you. Mercer is 6th in earnings, but 20th in repayment. Spelman is 8th in cashola made, but paying 33rd in paying that cashola back. Same with Shorter (10th and 38th).


College or
University

Rank in
Earnings
Rank in
Repayment
Georgia Tech
  1
  1
Emory
  2
  2
Southern Polytechnic
  3
14
Creative Circus
  4
10
Portfolio Center
  5
  6
Mercer
  6
20
UGA
  7
  4
Spelman
  8
33
Oglethorpe
  9
16
Shorter
10
38




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

College Data

I've just started playing with a large set of university data. So much data, so little time. Lemme give you a couple of highlights from some quick-and-dirty analyses. There are three columns that contain the average debt of students from low (below $30k), middle ($30-75k), and high (over $75k) income families. I found a few surprises, if I'm reading the numbers correctly.

Let's start with the high income college debt. The leading school is Albany State ($25,000 average debt), followed by SCAD ($21,500) and Georgia Tech ($21,000). Emory and Mercer come in next. UGA, where I teach, is 10th at $17,250. Next is middle income college debt. Leading the way is Morehouse ($27,000), followed by Shorter ($26,000), Spelman ($25,300) and Albany State ($25,187). UGA is 22nd at $17,000. Finally, those lower income families. Spelman leads the list ($25,000), followed by Morehouse ($26,675), Shorter ($25,563) and Albany State ($23,637). Oh, UGA is 27th at $16,224.

So what can we take away from this? There are a lot of consistencies in the list. Albany State, for example. And Morehouse.

When I have time I'm going to correlate the debt to the salaries reported for graduates, see how it all falls. Or perhaps look at completion rate compared to debt incurred (for example, Spelman has the 6th highest completion rate, while Albany State is in the middle of the pack with a 40 percent completion rate). There is lots of data here, accessible to me as a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors.

The list of schools alone is fun. We have the Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service, by far my favorite, though Beauty College of America is a close second.

The data is the entire country, I just carved out a Georgia slice for some analyses. I can rank order by any variable, or look at relationships among the variables. Again, so much data, so little time.





Monday, September 19, 2016

Inconsistent Style

We harp on AP style in classes. We demand students be consistent in how they present the news so that inconsistencies don't get in the way of storytelling. Abbreviate words in a similar fashion, for example. Capitalize the same. So look below. In the left story's hed, all the words are in uppercase. On the right, only some are. And let's not forget the noun-verb agreement problem in that story to the right, plus its factual error. The police did not make a sexual assault allegation, a student reported it and the police later, upon getting more information, said it didn't happen. This hed misleads. Plus there's that lazy stock photo. You're a news site.






f

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Minority Faculty

The University of Missouri has set aside $1.6 million to increase its minority faculty. According to the story, they want to get up to 13 percent in four years.

So, how does UGA compare?

Using only full time faculty via UGA's data portal, only 5.8 percent of UGA's faculty are black. Of the colleges Social Work does the best, with 35.5 percent African American, followed by Education (11.6 percent). Who sucks? It's a tie, at 0.0 percent, between Environment & Design, Forestry & National Resources, though as you can see from the data presented below Env & Design makes up for it somewhat with four Hispanic faculty. Again, the data below are just full-time faculty, from Fall 2015. I could do a lot more, but it's hard to squeeze onto this blog.

SCHOOL
Total
Faculty
Black
Faculty
Hispanic
Faculty
Arts & Sciences
790
38
33
Ag & Env Science
572
39
14
Education
215
25
  4
Vet Med
178
  8
12
Business
135
  2
  4
Fam & Con Sci
  85
  7
  4
Pharmacy
  68
  4
  1
Journalism
  63
  1
  3
Law
  60
  5
  1
SPIA
  59
  1
  0
Public Health
  56
  6
  2
Engineering
  53
  2
  0
Forestry
  52
  0
  1
Env & Design
  36
  0
  4
Social Work
  31
11
  0
Ecology
  28
  1
  0



c

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Voting


No reason to elaborate. Read this NYTimes piece on who votes, who doesn't, and what predicts the casting of a ballot. It's worth your time.