Students at the top of their game, placing CWRU among top 25 smartest colleges

Congratulations, campus gamers! Thanks to you and your smarts, Case Western Reserve University is once again among the top universities in the country, coming in at No. 24 on the “Smartest Colleges in America” list.

The list, developed by San Francisco-based Lumosity, ranks colleges by students’ performances on its brain-training games. Since the company’s inception in 2007, more than 30 million users from around the world have played Lumosity’s cognitive training games more than 450 million times, according to the company.

To compile this list, Lumosity looked at the game results of more than 60,000 users between the ages of 17 and 25. Users were assigned to universities based on self-reported email addresses and/or the web domain associated with his or her email address.

The analysis looked at a user’s scores the first game he or she played in each of the five areas: speed, attention, flexibility, memory and problem solving. Each area had a normalized score, and each of those was added together to form the Grand Index score.

All 411 institutions included in the study were ranked based upon their median Grand Index Scores; Case Western Reserve’s Grand Index Score came in at 107.60, which placed the university at No. 24 on the list.

The top spot went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (113.88), with Harvard University (113.31) at No. 2 and Stanford University (112.97) at No. 3. Other top 25 schools included Duke University (110.91) at No. 10, Carnegie Mellon University (108.90) at No. 17 and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (107.78) just ahead of Case Western Reserve at No. 23.

Case Western Reserve ranked above other top 50 institutions such as Boston College, Tufts University, Brown University, Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University.

Lumosity compared their rankings with other publicly available data such as ACT and SAT scores for admitted students; in this case, the company found a strong correlation between the Grand Index Scores and ACT/SAT scores.

In addition, they compared the Luminosity list with the 2012 U.S. News and World Report rankings and found a strong correlation there as well, “indicating the information in our cognitive performance measures of individual students overlaps with the university-based measures used by other sources,” according to their whitepaper. Case Western Reserve University ranked No. 38 in the 2012 U.S. News rankings and moved up a spot to No. 37 in the 2013 list.

So-called “brain training” companies such as Lumosity have received major buzz lately. In a recent New York Times article, psychology professor Douglas K. Detterman questioned the results of such companies in actually improving intelligence, but remarked that they make people better at test taking.