Are you in the throes of college and university admissions data evaluation and applications processes? A new list of top colleges and universities is out. This list is referred to as America’s “Smartest Colleges”.
This ranking takes a unique approach compared to others. Daniel A. Sternberg, Ph.D. and his peers at the “learning research” company Lumosity used their cognitive metrics to rank students who played their online memory development games.
The researchers used the “self-reported email address” and/or the “web domain associated with a student’s IP address” of approximately 60,000 students from four hundred-eleven colleges and universities who participated in a series of “cognitive training games” on the Lumosity.com website.
This post does not attest the validity the Lumosity tools. However, these games are purported to measure intelligence in five ways: speed, attention, flexibility, memory, and problem-solving. If you take the leap of faith and accept the premise of test validity, then the institutions with the smartest students in the Lumosity study were MIT, Harvard and Stanford, respectively.
Dr. Steinberg acknowledged that there were probably sampling errors. All information was self-reported including age, gender, and school attended. Some data could be correlated to geographic location of the computers’ IP addresses. However, the Lumosity team could not absolutely verify the identification and demographics of the participants and whether or not they were actually students at the schools with which they reported to be associated. Additionally, these tests are performed in a timed game environment in which better hand-eye coordination also has a positive effect on outcome.
The study data demonstrates good correlation with standardized academic test performances of the students from the identified schools. As such, the study supports the merits of SAT and ACT test scores as measures of the incoming freshman student body knowledge bases. However, the Ivy League and other top-ranked schools are neither attractive to nor have room for everyone. As such, aggregates of brilliant high achievers, who enjoy engaging themselves in academically-oriented diversion (e.g., Lumosity computer games) can be found at many schools, some not where you would expect them to be.
However, high school students familiar with AP and IB classes also recognize that the tenor of such classes and the manner in which materials are presented differs significantly when compared to non-advanced content classes. As such, you may not want to be the only prodigy amongst your student peers in college either. Although some would argue that you should be able to obtain a great education in substantially more places than those that receive significantly favorable recognition, do you really want to attend a school where 90 percent of your peers do not graduate if you have other options?
If you are curious about where America’s smartest students going to college, take a look at what Lumosity believes. Add their findings to all the other college admissions and university evaluation data you are now considering.