Maclean’s evaluation of overall academic excellence at universities across the country
To provide a more detailed picture of grade averages, Maclean’s displays grades divided into six grade ranges, extending from less than 70 per cent to 95 per cent and higher.
As a measure of drawing power, Maclean’s counts the proportion of out-of-province students in the first-year undergraduate class, and the proportion of first-year international students.
In taking stock of retention rates, Maclean’s asks for the percentage of full-time, first-year students who return in second year. While many factors can affect a student’s choice not to return—personal considerations, or a decision to transfer to a program unavailable at their home university—student retention, on the whole, reflects a university’s success in keeping its students on course.
Maclean’s also measures graduation rates by tracking an incoming cohort of full-time, first-year undergraduate students to determine if they received a degree within seven years. The graduation numbers include students in three-year programs, as well as those in such second-entry programs as medicine, law and education—programs that have a highly selective admissions process. As such, the number of these programs at any given university can affect the overall graduation rate.
In assessing faculty, Maclean’s counts the percentage of full-time instructional faculty members who have a Ph.D., a first professional degree or a terminal degree in their field.
Finally, in taking a look at the classroom experience, Maclean’s presents figures on average undergraduate class sizes at the first and second-year level, as well as at the third and fourth-year level.