Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Distance picked, peer institution selected, the nearest IPEDS

Other Peer Institution Selection Article

** If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrom browser, you would not be able to read the formulas in this article. These formulas were written in MathML, a W3C standard, and can be viewed in FireFox.

The goal of this article is to provide mathematical insights into the selection of nearest peer institutions. The discussion begins with a general review of distance in mathematics and extended the idea to the measurement of nearness. Examples were used to demonstrate the importance of properly selected distance function.

The idea of peer
In many fields of study, it is a useful practice to tag objects that are similar to a particular object, the Anchor, as peers. The similarity can customarily be measured by the shortness of distance. The smaller the distance, the more similar an object is to the Anchor and the more likely an object to be selected as a peer of the Anchor.

Distances in Mathematics
In mathematics a metric or distance function is a function that defines the distance between two elements/objects (see Wikipedia article). However, as the abstract nature of the mathematics, the 'set theory' set criteria on behavior of the distance function but left the explicit definition of the distance to the case of application since the explicit definition is irrelevant in the content of the set theory.

For cases were the elements are Euclidean geometry points, the distances are commonly defined as:  ( x 1 - x 2 ) 2 + ( y 1 - y 2 ) 2

However, this is not the only permissible definition for distance.

Distance in a case of study
The lack of explicit definition of distance for a case of study call into question of the distance between the mathematics and the real world.

However, contrary to most believes, mathematics is not isolated in its own abstract world, plenty of mathematical branches grow out of real world problems. For example, the criteria for the distance function are abstracted qualities of the common distance definition of the Euclidean geometry.

The absent of the definition, in essence, offer the opportunity to select a sensible definition for the case of study.

In the land of peer selection, properties are constantly associated with objects and distances are customary defined through properties.

In the case of higher-education-institution objects, possible properties are fall enrollment headcounts, percent of male enrollment, total revenue, ... etc, like those collected by IPEDS ( Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) survey.

Distance of Interest for this article
Of all the possible choice of distance definitions, the following are of demonstrative interest. The subscript i denoted various properties while the X denoted the Anchor object in the set and x a different object. The D denote the distance

  1. Sum of the square of the difference
    D = i d i = i ( x i - X i ) 2
  2. Sum of the Ranking of difference
    D = i d i = i Ranking of | x i - X i |
    where the minimum value has a rank of 1 and the next smallest has a rank of 2 ... etc.
  3. Sum of the square of the percent difference
    D = i d i = i ( x i X i - 1 ) 2
  4. Sum of the absolute value of the percent difference
    D = i d i = i | x i X i - 1 |
Fabricated demonstrative data
For the sack of demonstration, higher education institution IPEDS like objects were considered. The Anchor institution, My Inst, alone with three other institutions and their fabricated property values were listed in Table 1. Comparisons of these institution were presented in Figure 1. Data are fabricated to demonstrate that a good methodology would not depend on data to produce reasonable result. With Figure 1, it is clearly shown that Inst-1 is the institution that most similar to My Inst, the Anchor institution, followed by Inst-2 and Inst-3.

Table 1 - demonstrative data
InstEnrollment% MenRevenue
Institution 1190063%105,000
Institution 2205090%101,000
Institution 3197035%104,000
My Institution200060%100,000

Figure 1 - comparing institutions (click to see the picture)

Distance evaluated with each illustrative definition

Table 2 - Sum of the square of the difference
InstEnrollmentPercent MenRevenueDistance
Inst 1100000.000925,000,00025,010,000.0
Inst 225000.091,000,0001,002,500.1
Inst 39000.062516,000,00016,000,900.1

With the 'sum of the square of the difference' approach, the similarity ranking is in the order of Inst-2, Inst-3, and followed by Inst 1. Table 2 demonstrated that, in this model, the property having larger value would overshadow differences in other properties. It is, therefore, important to scale properties to a compatible matter.t

Table 3 - Sum of the Ranking of difference
InstEnrollmentPercent MenRevenueDistance
Inst 13137
Inst 22316
Inst 31225

The 'Sum of the Ranking' practice considered the Inst-3 as the most similar peer with Inst-2 and Inst-1 following. The problem with this approach may not be obvious. Couple of points can be made, if observe carefully. First of all is the misrepresentation of the true differences with category like integers, which by itself can't even avoid rounding errors. Using ordering also create problem in that distances between adjacent values are been replaced by 1.

Table 4 - Sum of the square of the percent difference
InstEnrollment% MenRevenueDistance
Inst 10.3%0.3%0.3%0.8%
Inst 20.1%25.0%0.0%25.1%
Inst 30.0%17.4%0.2%17.5%

Inst-1 is ranked as the most likely followed by Inst-3 and Inst-2 in the 'Sum of the square of the percent difference' process. 

Under this approach, differences are represented by the percent difference from the Anchor with no categorization attempted. Another benefit of this approach is the straightforward approach and the ease of explanation to audiences. Weighting to each property, as will be discussed later, is also plain to see and easy to identify.

Lesson learned
Properties' value varied in magnitudes, invoking values directly undermined the difference in properties with smaller magnitude. The employ of ranking could over-shadow the difference in value and, in effect, assigned a difference of 1 for all adjacent values.

The square vs. the absolute value (definition 3 vs. definition 4) 
The fact that ( i A i ) 2 i A i 2 implied that the squared method would favor multiple smaller differences than a single larger difference while the absolute value method will weight small differences and single bigger difference equally. Visually, the squared method made sense.

Weighting properties
Once standardize to the 'sum of the square of the percent difference', weighting can easily be done by multiples to the 'square of the percent difference' before the sum.

* While customized distance can be used in Nearest Neighbor analysis, Nearest Neighbor represent a specific topic in the cluster analysis.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Doctor's degree by field of study, race, foreign, and gender

The field of choice for US doctor awardees are similar regard less of race. Non-resident alien accounted for almost 30% of the supply for higher education instructors!

Observing of doctoral degree conferred in the United States provided us a unique look into the US higher education system. It provided implications for our future higher education system. For one, the doctors are the main source of future college instructors, and secondly, they are future leaders of our higher education institutions. They are also the main research talent that will continue to move the country forward. Lawyers also play important roles in the social justice of our society, especially in protecting minorities' legal rights.

The CL education center has just released a set of data processing reports based on the IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) 2011-12 completer survey - the analysis can be found under the section: United State's Doctor Production.

IPEDS survey classifies Doctors into 3 groups: The Research Doctors, the Professional Practice Doctors, and the Other Doctors. For non-legal, and non-medical field, the research doctors are the main source for college instructors. The professional practice doctors are mainly the lawyers, and the medical doctors, but also includes doctors that are mainly prepared for specialized career practices like ...

Total Doctor Degrees Awarded by Field of Study (CIP)

Figure 1, Doctors' field of study for each race (click to view the whole chart)
The major field/CIP of interested are list in Table 1 below.

Table 1, major field of interest for each race (multiple and unknown race not displayed)
11Computer and Info. Sci.0.3%0.8%0.4%0.2%0.5%4.2%
22Legal Prof. and Studies37.5%21.2%29.1%38.8%30.5%5.7%
26Bio and Biomedical Sci.3.1%4.1%2.6%3.7%4.0%11.2%
40Physical Sciences1.3%1.5%0.9%1.5%2.4%11.3%
45Social Science1.1%1.0%1.3%1.5%1.7%5.9%
51Health Professions related36.3%58.7%32.3%33.3%39.4%10.1%

Figure 1 and Table 1 revealed that, for US citizen, almost all races are favoring Legal, and Health Professions roughly equally, except Asian Pacific Islander are skewed more toward Health Professions. Beside the point made above, in general, all races exhibit similar field-of-study pattern. The major disparities in the chart come from the non-residence alien, where the dominated field is the engineering. Their domination on physical science and biology is also noticeable.

Total Doctor Degrees Awarded by Race
Table 2, total doctor degree awarded by race

Total Research Doctors Awarded by Race
Table 3, total research doctors awarded by race

The research doctor degree, which mainly removed the lawyers and medical doctors from the total doctor count, awarded to non-residence alien comprise a whooping 27% of all the research doctor degree awarded. Research doctors are the major supply of teachers for our higher education system.

Table 4, research doctors awarded by fields(CIP) and by race
1Agriculture and Operation0.7%2.5%1.3%4.1%34.5%52.0%4.5%0.4%
3Nature Resource and Conservation0.4%3.4%2.5%3.4%56.7%27.4%5.6%0.5%
5Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender Studies2.2%8.6%11.9%5.0%44.2%16.9%10.4%0.7%
9Communication, Journalism0.7%2.6%5.7%2.1%56.3%25.3%6.9%0.3%
10Communication Technologies0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%100.0%0.0%0.0%
11Computer and Info Sci.0.2%8.3%2.0%1.2%33.0%50.4%4.7%0.2%
12Personal and Culinary Services

15Engineering Technologies0.0%5.5%1.8%1.8%49.1%34.5%7.3%0.0%
16Foreign Languages, Literatures0.1%3.6%1.7%6.6%47.0%32.4%8.4%0.3%
19Family, Consumer Sci.0.3%3.4%9.1%2.2%57.2%25.3%2.2%0.3%
22Legal Prof. and studies0.0%1.6%0.5%2.1%11.0%77.0%7.9%0.0%
23English, Literature0.4%3.4%4.0%3.8%70.8%8.5%7.9%1.1%
24Liberal Arts, Sci. General Studies0.0%4.5%3.4%1.1%56.8%12.5%20.5%1.1%
25Library Sci.0.0%2.0%2.0%2.0%48.0%42.0%4.0%0.0%
26Bio. Biomedical Sci.0.3%8.2%3.3%4.3%49.8%27.2%6.3%0.6%
27Math. And Statistics0.3%5.7%1.4%1.8%39.4%46.5%4.7%0.1%
28Military Sci. Leadership

29Military Tech.0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%83.3%16.7%0.0%0.0%
30Interdisciplinary Studies0.5%5.3%10.0%4.8%52.3%20.2%5.6%1.4%
31Recreation, Leisure Studies0.4%1.2%7.0%2.1%62.8%24.8%1.2%0.4%
32Basic, Remedial Education

33Citizenship Activities

34Health Knowledge and Skill

35Social Skills

36Leisure, Recreational Activities


38Philosophy and Religious Studies0.1%2.6%5.4%2.9%62.5%18.1%7.5%1.0%
39Theology, Religious Vocations0.0%4.7%10.8%3.3%61.0%12.6%7.3%0.2%
40Physical Sciences0.2%4.6%1.7%2.6%43.7%40.6%6.2%0.5%
41Science Tech.0.0%33.3%0.0%0.0%66.7%0.0%0.0%0.0%
43Protective Services0.0%3.8%11.5%3.1%63.4%12.2%5.3%0.8%
44Public Administration0.4%4.7%15.1%5.3%47.2%17.0%9.7%0.7%
45Social Science0.3%4.5%3.8%3.9%47.4%32.2%7.2%0.7%
46Construction Trades

47Mechanic, Repair Tech.

48Precision Production

49Materials Transportation

50Performing Arts0.4%6.1%1.9%3.5%57.8%22.1%7.8%0.5%
51Health Professions0.3%5.9%7.7%3.3%60.9%13.3%8.1%0.5%
52Business, Marketing0.4%5.2%12.5%4.4%41.2%26.0%10.2%0.2%
53Secondary Diplomas

60Residency Programs

Figure 4 further breaks down the research doctors by field of study (CIP) and by race. The engineering stand out. 56% of the engineering doctor degrees were awarded to non-resident alien. Other non-resident alien heavy fields include Agriculture(52%),
Architecture(37%), Computer Sci.(50%), Engineering Tech(35%), Foreign Languages(32%), Library Sci.(42%), Math. And Statistics(47%), Physical Sciences(41%), Social Science(32%). All of these fields displayed a non-resident alien rate that is higher than the 27.3%, the average rate held by non-resident alien.

Total Research Doctors Awarded by Gender
Men(51%) and women(49%) held roughly the same share of all the research doctor degrees awarded by US institutions. The lowest fields with women recipients are Military Tech(17%), Theology(19%), Computer(20%), and Engineering(22%).

Professional Practice Doctor Degrees Awarded by Gender
In this category, men(53%) held a slightly larger share in the Legal Profession while women(57%) hold larger share in the Medical Doctor field.