What happened?
  • The University has found that the SAT scores calculated for the classes entering Bucknell from 2006 through 2012 omitted on average 32 students per year from the data, some with SAT scores higher than the mean and some lower. And the ACT scores for several of those entering classes were actually calculated to be one point lower than the correct figure. One point on the ACT equals about 40 points on the SAT. As a result of these errors, our mean SAT scores were on average reported to be 16 points higher than they actually were.
Who was responsible for these errors?
  • Former enrollment management leadership no longer with the University was responsible for these faulty practices.
Why were these errors made?
  • President Bravman and other current Bucknell leadership has spoken with the former enrollment management leadership to try to understand why these errors were made. We can't discern people's intentions, but at a minimum the inaccurate numbers show an inexplicable inattention to the accuracy of data that the University is obligated to manage carefully and report on completely.
Were any laws violated?
  • No. These inaccurate data were reported as part of internal reports shared with the Board of Trustees and such external organizations as U.S. News and World Report. The inaccurate data were shared with internal offices that then included them in publications and the website. While the misreporting of this data was a matter of bad practice, it did not violate any laws.
How did you find out about the problem?
  • Our current enrollment management leadership, led by our new Vice President for Enrollment Management Bill Conley, who joined Bucknell last summer, found the calculation errors in data passed along to him by previous leadership. At President Bravman's direction, Vice President Conley conducted an extensive analysis of all the data. We are confident that we now have the complete and accurate data.
How are you fixing the problem?
  • The president has informed the Board of Trustees and all Bucknellians of the errors, and has informed external bodies such as U.S. News and World Report of the mistakes and provided them with the corrected information. We have also corrected all references to the data that appear on the University's website, are correcting the information with databases managed by other organizations, and are correcting printed Bucknell publications that contain the inaccurate numbers.
Who were the students whose data was omitted?
  • When students submit SAT or ACT scores to a university, they do so trusting that that information will be handled accurately and in confidence. Bucknell made a mistake in how we handled that information. We will not compound the error by again violating the trust of these students and disclosing information that they shared with Bucknell in confidence.
Can you tell me at least if they come from one group of students?
  • No. We are not at liberty to share private student information. All we are able to say is that the students come from multiple cohorts.
Is this going to change Bucknell's rankings such as in U.S. News and World Report?
  • We have no way of knowing that. Certain criteria that are part of the U.S. News ranking formula are proprietary and cannot be duplicated by others. It is possible that due to the small numbers of students omitted and the resulting scale of impact on our SAT scores, and because the criteria used by rankings publications are so diverse, that these changes will not affect any rankings of Bucknell. But we do not know.
How will you prevent this from happening again?
  • President Bravman has directed that from now on the admissions staff and institutional research staff will analyze the data separately, and present to him their separate findings for comparison before those findings are reported to anyone else. Additionally, Bucknell will at periodic intervals engage a third-party auditor to further verify the complete accuracy of these calculations.
Will this incident affect how Bucknell decides which applicants to admit?
  • No. SAT calculations and any other Bucknell reporting of data do not affect the Admissions Committee's decisions as to which applicants receive offers of admission to a class. Aggregated SAT scores are only calculated after the class is selected.