Sep 1, 2010, 11:22 PM
Post #955 of 1018
For program movement over time, it's better to look at the overall rankings, because the "N" is much higher. In the overall rankings ASU moved only 2 spots between the 2010 and 2011 rankings, which is a blip on the radar (a 1.35% movement, given the 148 full-res programs out there). It did drop 18 spots in poetry (a 12.16% drop), but a few things to consider: With a much lower "N," genre rankings should be seen as having at least a 5% MoE (Margin of Error); there were some CGSR compliance-related kerfuffles in the past three years with ASU, and while these are over now (I can say from dealing directly with the program), they may have affected some portion of last year's voting (perhaps explaining the 7.16% drop above and beyond the 5% minimum MoE?), especially as poetry voters are always more "responsive" to issues surrounding funding because they're more worried about it on average (and CGSR compliance, as it plays out in real-time, is a funding-related issue for applicants); the poetry rankings are even more volatile than you would expect "average" genre rankings to be, because poetry is a much less popular genre than fiction, which lends itself to much more voters in the fiction polling and much more stability in the fiction rankings (for instance, in the 2009-10 poetry polling, had ASU received even 5 more votes -- which is certainly not insubstantial under these circumstances, with this "N," but also does put things a little bit into perspective -- it would have been knocking on the door of the top 20 in poetry); there may have been faculty turnover or changes to the website that clarified funding (which in some cases reveals funding to be slightly more modest than presumed); and so on. But if the overall ranking isn't changing much, don't presume much has changed in terms of applicant popularity -- which, again, is what that portion of the rankings sheet measures. You have to look at the hard-data rankings too if you're really trying to track whether something is changing in a program --ASU's funding ranking went up, its selectivity stayed about the same, and it actually got onto the map in placement (it hadn't been ranked before), so there's no evidence of the types of evidence available to us (this is, of course, a tacit caveat in any conversation like this) to suggest anything has changed.