Pell Institute lacks basic mathematics skills, but their reports look slick

I wish I had discovered this; hat tip to an RTI colleague for pointing this out.

Go to page 33 of this report (Equity Indicator 5b: Bachelor’s attainment rates by age 24 for dependent family members who entered college by income quartile: 1970 to 2013):

The graduation rate for the top income quartile in 99%! That’s correct, the graduation rate for one-quarter of 18-24 year olds is almost 100%.

That is an eye-popping number. These kids must be attending only the Ivy Leagues, to have such a near-perfect graduation rate.

Uh, wait a minute. According to U.S. News, Harvard’s six-year graduation rate is a measly 97%. Same with Princeton, although Yale reports 98%. Other top schools report in the 90%-96% range. So not only does it appear unlikely for a cohort of students to have a graduation rate of 99%, I suspect that the top schools do not have the capacity to enroll one-quarter of all 18-24 year olds attempting a bachelor’s degree in this country.

This is simply a nonsensical number, and only a true ideologue could miss it.

Whoever wrote this report, come to NC State and we can provide you with basic training on how to analyze data, including such areas as multiplication, division, and having common sense.

Stephen By Stephen

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Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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