Wadham, our favourite bunch of leftie renegades, have once again defied the celestial authorities by remaining stable in a year of massive carnage for other colleges in the 2014/15 Norrington Table.


Madgalen – Fun's latest funeral

Madgalen – Fun’s latest funeral

The college took third place, up from fifth in 2014, becoming the only college along with New (second this year and fourth last year) to stay inside the top 5 two years running. Wadham’s jubilation resulted in an early leak of the university’s infamous league table, as the college rushed to share the happy news. Keen.

Elsewhere, shock rises and falls will prompt much reflection amongst other colleges, as traditional high-fliers flunked like Icarus into the depths of the infamous table. Most notably Merton, who have only dropped outside the top five once this millennium (to 14th in 2012), and have been 1st ten times since 2000. Today it has been revealed that the ‘clever’ college has dropped from the top spot to 27th. Owch. With many citing the table as prompting a self-fulfilling prophecy that keeps Merton golden, its release just two months ahead of the UCAS Oxbridge deadline may well play a big role in students’ college choices.

The majority of last year’s top ten have dropped down the rankings, with the notable exception of tail-enders Magdalen, who have risen from 9th to claim Merton’s crown. Inside the top five, Balliol rose the furthest, from 20th last year to 4th.

Below Merton, Pembroke remained in 30th place for the second year running, whilst Teddy Hall and Somerville both dropped a single place.

Although the table attracts significant criticism for its one-dimensional approach to ranking colleges, it is nonetheless widely touted by those who do  – Magdalen have extolled their success on their own news site this morning.

A particular criticism of the Norrington Table is that colleges with a higher number of science students receive proportionally more firsts. At Cambridge, this is taken into account whilst compiling the Tompkins Table.

All the lads...

All the lads…

The kinda kids who sat at the back of the bus. Legends.

The kinda kids who sat at the back of the bus. Legends.

Merton are reputed to be taking applications for a new stereotype, but request it is not too sporty.

This article has 6 comments

  1. A Pembroke Student

    Just observed that in last place at position 30, we’re further away from position 29 than position 29 is from the median score- that must surely take some skill #pembrokepride

  2. Another Pembroke Student

    The original data shows that the proportion of Pembroke finalists who achieved a 2.ii is very normal amongst colleges, and in fact no Pembroke students were awarded thirds, and none of them failed. In fact, hardly any of the disparity between any of the colleges is accounted for by results at the lower end. This is especially the case becuase Norrington biases to make the number of firsts very important. Pembroke performed worse than other colleges, then, pretty much only becuase it’s finalists achieved a relatively small proportion of firsts. But this can be accounted for easily by the fact that it has relatively few students in the sciences, compared with the arts. Add into the mix that many students are taught in central subject faculties or by tutors from other colleges, and the potential for Norrington-related self selection biases in admissions and you end up with a pretty much meaningless table. BUT WE MUST RANK EVERYTHING in the higher education sector it would seem, no matter how bad the methodology, and so this isn’t going to go away any time soon…ah well I guess it’s a bit of a laugh

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