Disingenuous Data

By Doug Lederman

Iona College acknowledged Tuesday that its former provost had, for nearly a decade, manipulated and misreported student-related data to government officials, accrediting bodies, bond rating agencies, and others.

As the new president of the New York Roman Catholic college described the steps it had taken to prevent such individual unethical behavior in the future, some observers in higher education said they believed the case indicated the existence of a larger problem.

“I do think there probably is a pattern” in the case at Iona and other recent incidents involving law schools at the University of Illinois and Villanova University, Clemson University’s reporting to U.S. News and World Report, and even the grade-changing scandal in the Atlanta public schools, said Jane Robbins, senior lecturer in innovation, entrepreneurship, and institutional leadership at the University of Arizona.

While making clear that she did not in any way excuse the “egregious” individual behavior on display at Iona, Robbins said the situation reflects the intense pressure and “perverse incentives” in an “intensely competitive system” in which colleges are often deemed worthy or excellent based on standardized test scores and the giving rates of their alumni.

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/11/09/iona-admits-ex-official-misreported-data-outside-entities#ixzz1dEIOnRnZ

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