The NCAA recently reported its annual academic progress ratings (APR), claiming progress for many sports. At first look, the scale seemed padded to me: 1,000 is the highest possible score, 925 supposedly represents a 60% graduation rate, and the lowest score I’ve seen is 811. Looking for methodology, I poked around the NCAA web site for a while (what a disaster; here’s one particularly nasty page). Nothing. Finally, Google yielded this:
In calculating the APR, each student-athlete who receives athletic aid receives one point for continuing as a full-time student or graduating, and one point for remaining eligible to compete each semester. The maximum number of points a student-athlete can earn in an academic year is four. A team’s APR is the total number of points earned divided by the maximum number of points possible. This APR number is then multiplied by 1,000. (For example, a team which receives 94 percent of all possible points would have a team APR of 940.)
So eligibility and retention are the keys here, the rate is NOT a direct graduation measurement, and it’s a weighted percentage. But I wonder about “who receives athletic aid”: are students not on scholarship excluded from APR numbers? What about those on partial scholarships: are those scores prorated?
I’d like to see a clear, complete discussion of this methodology on the NCAA website. The Bootleg got their annual numbers out a few weeks ago, and they are very up front about their calculations. You’d think the NCAA could match the statistical moxie of a bunch of Stanford sports geeks. Maybe not.