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Explaining Why Kent Dropped 19 Places in Complete University Guide Ranking

The University of Kent has dropped 19 places in the recently released Complete University Guide League Table for 2019. Falling from 25th in 2018 tables to 44th in the most recent release. This is the lowest position the University has held in the past decade. This shocking news is the first and only result yet received about the University’s overall rankings for 2019, as other prominent League Tables likes the Guardian and the Times Higher Education have yet to be released.

The reasons behind this fall is, according to Paul Greatrix of the University of Nottingham, ‘due to an increase in Student-Staff Ratio’, suggesting that the universities had fallen due to a larger group of students relative to each member staff. The Universities current student-staff ratio, according the CUG collection, is 18.4, meaning that for each staff member there are currently 18.4 students.

Although these figures suggest that each student would have less contact time with academic and university staff, the CUG states in its criterion that ‘A low student to staff ratio does not guarantee good quality of teaching or good access to staff’. Many ranking tables even dispute the necessity and impact of this feature, with the Guardian arguing that the ratio of the number of staff to students does not accurately reflect teaching intensity and does not reveal who is performing the teaching. The University of Kent’s research and teaching intensity is still incredibly high, ranking 0.85 out of 1.00, its teaching quality is ranked as Gold by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and, most importantly, it’s graduate prospects is rated 82.4 out of 100.0. This drop in one area does not necessarily reflect the overall quality of the University.

Comparing Kent to other universities both higher and lower in the ranking, Â highlights, as the Guardian suggests, how the ranking system does not necessarily reflect quality. The University of Lincoln which now sits one place above Kent on the table has lower Graduate Prospects at 76.0 and St George’s University of London, placed at 52nd, has Graduate Prospects of 93.6. St George’s is an enlightening comparison to Kent’s recent development. Despite falling from 34th place in 2014 to 52nd in 2019, the University’s quality has not fallen as a result.

The University of Kent is not alone in this development. As Greatrix also points out, the University of Hull has had a similar fate, dropping from 74th to 94th place. Other universities have also had severe drops for other reasons. Both Falmouth University and City, University of London have fallen between 24 and 27 places respectively, along with Middlesex University, which had the most severe drop of 32 places, all due to a ‘decrease in Graduate Prospects’.

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