Aberystwyth continues to fall in Guardian University Guide

20130502-IMG_0827ABERYSTWYTH University has dropped 39 places in the 2014 Guardian University Guide’s league table, published today (Tuesday).

The slump to 88th place, from 49th place in 2011, marks the third consecutive year the University has fallen.

Aberystwyth’s ranking in the 2014 tables is the lowest score since 2006, where the University came 92nd.

The two departments often regarded as the strongest, International Politics and Geography, also reflected the fall, with Interpol falling 11 places from 34th to 45th and Geography 19 from 27th to 46th

The University’s Sports Science department, which ranked 9th in 2013, dropped 14 places to 23rd, whilst Business and Management dropped 12 from 76th to 88th.

In a statement, a University spokesperson said: “University league tables vary greatly in nature, content and the method by which they are compiled. Consequently the performance of individual institutions will vary. They are by definition historical (i.e. refer to data collected over the previous year).”

The spokesperson went on to reference the Strategic Plan, launched at the start of this year, which sets out where Aberystwyth University aims to be in 2017. The plan describes the University’s aims to become a “leading interdisciplinary institution, making an impact in Wales, the UK and globally.”

“The focus is on creating opportunities for students and staff, on generating research that makes and impact, delivering inspiring teaching, building on the University’s international reputation, working in partnership at local, national and international levels, and investing to ensure a sustainable future for the University and for Aberystwyth.”

“The league tables of the future will tell their story, but it is by addressing these priorities that the University will really change the experience of students and staff, and build on what is widely acknowledged as one of the best student experiences in the world.”

Students’ Union Education Officer-elect Grace Burton, who will take up her post on 1st July, said that she was “disappointed to see the size of the drop Aberystwyth has made in the figures published.”

“The Guardian table shows that the ‘value added’ score in particular is pulling us down. This score offers a comparison between the grades you enter university with and the degree class you leave with – this indicates that our students are entering with good A-levels, but that this isn’t being reflected in the degree class they graduate with, and for Aberystwyth to be 7th from bottom nationally by this measure is troubling.

Incumbent Education Officer Jess Leigh said: “Aberystwyth University unfortunately is no longer in a league of its own. To combat this slide I feel there is a pressing need for an in-depth examination of how we are managing the student experience.”

“League tables are blunt devices, and there needs to be broad research conducted on whether other institutions have ascended around us or our slide has been instituted in another way. In either case, steps need to be taken in preventing this fall from continuing and see the University raise its game, so that even if we don’t find ourselves at the very top, at the very least we should not find ourselves at the bottom.”

Burton also stressed her hopes that the University would take the opportunity to evaluate the situation and make any necessary changes, both educational and extra-curricular. She committed to lobby the University with regards to this after she takes office in July.

  • The Guardian compiles the tables on a range of subject-level statistics, relating to both input, e.g. expenditure, and output, employability. The full methodology can be found on their website, along with the full University Guide.