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Messages - mitchb

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1
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 20, 2006, 12:18:39 PM »
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I give up.  This guy's just an idiot.  He's never going to get it.  I'm still very skeptical that he's a law student at all, especially a 3L, given that he doesn't know the difference between placement and recruiting, that he can't follow or construct an argument, that arguments from policy or theory so confound him that the best he can do is defend the details in a failed scheme, and that he's wasting his time on an internet message board trying to justify his school choice like a sulking 15 year old when he should really be out looking for a job (along with the other 43% of his class that is unemployed at graduation).  I never thought much of Hastings to begin with, but if this guy actually is a student there, my opinion of it will be even further depressed.  God forbid I ever fill out a USNews reputation survey.

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Frankly, I'm now convinced that someone should yank Hastings' ABA-accreditation, since 2/3 of the way through your legal education it appears that they've taught you nothing.

And now back to the personal attacks. I guess that is the way you are supposed to win arguments around here - insult people you disagree with instead of making arguments. Clearly we haven't convinced each other so leave it at that and agree to disagree. You are calling me a 15 year old and yet I haven't once engaged in the childish name-calling that everyone else here has been doing. So if that is all that you have left then I won't argue about US News rankings with you anymore. I still don't understand why you disagreed so strongly with me when you just stated that you don't think US News are a great ranking of how good law schools are.

I hope you don't make a habit out of insulting people so much. That crap may fly on internet message boards but it won't fly in courtrooms. It just makes you look cheap and pathetic.

2
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 20, 2006, 03:58:41 AM »
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Here is the argument you ought to be trying to make:

Argument #1
Premise: US News purports to be a ranking of the top American law Schools.
Premise: In determining their rankings, US News relied on factors x, y, and z.
Premise: However, factors x, y, and z are either a) not measured properly, b) not weighted properly, or c) not relevant to a determination of what constitutes a top American law school.
---------------------------------------------
Conclusion #1: US News rankings do not successfully measure the top American law schools.

Argument #2
Premise: Factors r, s, and t are more accurate and/or more appropriate measures of what constitutes a top American law school.
Premise: When judged on these factors, schools A, B, and C perform much better than would have been expected based on their US News ranking.
----------------------------------------------
Conclusion #2: Schools A, B, and C are better law schools than would have been expected based on their US News ranking.


Here is the argument you tried to make, which is illegitimate:

Premise: Ranking #1, which measures factors x, y, and z places school A at #50.
Premise: Ranking #2, which measures factor r places school A at #10.
Premise: Ranking #3, which measures factor s, places school A at #20.
Premise: Ranking #4, which measures factor t, places school A at #30.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conclusion: Ranking #1 is incorrect.

See the difference?

OK sorry for not putting my arguments in numerical format. Calm down dude this is an internet message board not a court room and these are posts not legal motions.

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The natural response, of course, to your one anecdote regarding a law professor who claims to be only passingly familiar with certain schools is "The Durability of Law School Reputation" a 1998 article from The Journal of Legal Education, in which its author, Richard Schmalbeck, found that the reputations (and reputation scores) of law schools have remained virtually unchanged since the introduction of US News Rankings in 1987 (indeed, there is a great degree of consistency dating as far back as the 1974 survey, replete with methodological challenges though it was).  Given the level of consistency over time, the argument that the reputation scores are the result of poorly informed deans making arbitrary distinctions based on tenuous connections seems untennable.

This is very interesting evidence but it's 8 years old. The study ended in 1998 and yet 1998 is the year that US News made a major change in their system for measuring academic reputation.

Additionally, it is one of the scores that are not manipulable by law schools. So even on top of this problematic tool, you still have a number of other factors that US News uses that are highly manipulable.

Also, the US News scholarly reputation rankings only present professors with a list of schools and has them rank them (with no corresponding faculty lists provideD). Leiter did his own study in 2003 where he handed out faculty lists:

http://www.leiterrankings.com/faculty/2003faculty_reputation.shtml

Hastings came in at #29, just ahead of UC Davis (#32), its most comparable school.

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For instance, when you post rankings of Hastings that range from #11 to #36, claim that there is "no statistical variance" among those, and then claim that these rankings "show" that another ranking placing Hastings at #43 is bogus.

I think I have said like 3 times already that I agree the Brennan list that ranks hastings at 11 is way old and should obviously be discounted...

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the #43 is not an outlier - the value would still be reasonable given the dispersion of other rankings.  You can't automatically lop off the lowest or highest values simply becuase they are low or high.

Yes, the #43 is an outlier - it is the worst ranking of hastings out of any of these measurements. By definition it is the highest outlier. Brennan/#11 was the highest outlier on the other end and was obviously bogus.

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To make matters worse, you are posting links to information that is even more outdated, irrelevant, and methodologically flawed than the US News rankings.  You give us 10-year old salary data, we give you "Correlates of Elite Firm Placement."  You give us Brennan, we give you ALAMAR.

Again you keep attacking my brennan cite. You guys have done this like 5 times so far I have said over and over it is old and should be discounted.

You also go after the salary data AGAIN. I already posted the updated salary information from 2006. Hastings was #30. UC Davis was 45 (despite being 9 spots higher in US News).

I dealt with these issues a while back and you guys keep attacking them and pretending like everything I have said is wrong. It's setting up a straw man.

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Why?  Becuase there are no objectively true, perfectly quantifiable standards for what makes a law school better than another.  They just don't exist.

Again this is being relatavist and it doesn't justify the flaws in US News' rankings that I have pointed out. Even if you do think there is no perfect ranking system, the goal should be as good a system as possible and US News clearly is not cutting it with all of these issues.

"Neither your posts nor your links have conveyed any new information (it might be arguable that they conveyed any information at all), and your rankings-obsession is misguided at best. "

What? That Hastings has way higher salary, bar passage, student quality, faculty quality, and firm recruitment than US News ranks it? That Hastings ranks way higher than US News in other comprehensive rankings?

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one point you're trying to make (that the US News rankings aren't the best measure of a law school) is so obvious to all of us that it usually gos without saying

I completely agree with you on that point. Interesting that you spend so much time defending US News only to say this now...

3
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 19, 2006, 09:27:53 PM »
"Why did Leiter link to that idiot post?

I know he hates the US News rankings, and levels some legitimate complaints, but he attached himself to idiocy (Brennan rankings) and outright lies (claiming by a "Leiter ranking" it's 20th for "top firm recruiting").

I'm guessing he didn't even read what he was linking to, outside of the title."

Again, dispensing with the childish smack talking...

I already agreed that Brennan's rankings are old and should be discounted. And no, the top firm recruitment was not an outright lie - go to the list - hastings is in the group with over 200 big firms recruiting out of it, tied for 20th place with BC, BU, emory, fordham, UNC, notre dame, USC, and William & Mary. (http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2006/02/national_and_re.html)

Stop repeating stuff that I have already answered.

4
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 19, 2006, 09:19:31 PM »
Finally found some link to the "Alamar" rankings from some other thread on this site: http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php?topic=66033.0

The 2007 list has Hastings at 39 which I think is still a little low but it's still 4 spots ahead of US News. Of course, this list also has Georgetown at 31 so I'm not sure if it is a very trustworthy measure. Also, the link to the ranking from the thread is dead, so is the alamar foundation website.

"You cannot claim that one ranking is wrong on the grounds that it has different results than rankings which measure different things."

Well I guess that is the whole point. US News claims its rankings are a ranking of "America's Best Law Schools." Yet by all of these alternative measures that I have cited, the criteria US News used to determine this ranking GOT IT WRONG. They are not an accurate measure of the best law schools.

I think the Leiter critique that I posted in here clarified this. US News uses many bogus measures. I think the alternative studies I posted shows that it also churns out BOGUS RESULTS.

For example, consider that 25% of it is based on a "peer assessment score" of people across the country who know nothing about most of these schools and have probably never visited them. Consider what the well respected Professor Bainbridge posted on this criteria 2 years ago:

"My friend Wisconsin law professor Gordon Smith, who has a vote in this year's US News rankings because he's chairing the school's appointments committee, blogs:

The U.S. News survey just arrived. I am torn: should I toss it or sell my votes? Or should I be a good citizen and do what they ask: "Identify the schools you are familiar with, and then rate the academic quality of their J.D. program at each of these schools." (Look at the syntactical errors! Ugh!)
As I look over the list, I realize that my impressions of most schools on the list are based on wispy thin evidence, such as contact with a single faculty member. I have visited about 30 of the schools, but even the vivid image of a law school building tells me little about what U.S. News is trying to measure. Nevertheless, thousands of law students will shape their preferences in accord with what I and hundreds of people pretty much like me write on this survey. That's crazy."
(http://www.professorbainbridge.com/2004/10/why_the_us_news.html)

So yes, I do disagree with you Michigan student. Leiter's and Bainbridge's critiques point out the flawed reasoning that US News uses. My alternative studies show that it's churning out bogus results.

I refuse to follow your relativist reasoning that you can't compare two different studies that measure two different things. I think you need to consider all of the studies out there and the weight of the evidence clearly cuts against the US News rankings.

5
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 19, 2006, 05:02:37 PM »
Yes I also cross posted this over at my blog.

So far I think people have made some good points but none convincing enough to prove me wrong. Namely, nobody has provided any major factors or studies other than the US News rankings themselves that have Hastings lower than 43. So despite the fact that you have knocked SOME of the studies I have cited, my general argument still stands - which is that every other alternative ranking out there has Hastings higher.

I've also been trying to ignore the smack talking, apparantly there are a lot of children who post on this site...

I agree with Michigan student that the Brennan rankings are old and should be discounted.

"The median salary ranking (as mentioned before) is from 1996. I've already mentioned that he also misreports the ranking as being tied with Boalt. "

Look, I already answered this one. Yes that data is old but I found the most recent salary data from last year and it has Hastings at 30 and UC Davis (9 ranks ahead of hastings in US News) at 45 for salary. Again, the salary data cuts heavily against US News' ranking.

"The student quality ranking is nothing more than a list of 75th percentile LSAT scores, and the poster again misreports the ranking (he claims Hastings is 34, but is in fact 36)."

Leiter's student quality ranking is LSAT plus GPA. And 36 is still well higher than US News' 43.

And no, that doesn't just leave two rankings. Your own Ciolli firm study that YOU cited had Hastings way higher than US News' 43.

And I think you are way off base to be throwing the bar passage rates out the window. Hastings comes in higher than USC and UC Davis - two schools in the same BAR state that US News has ranked way higher.

Anyways, it's clear from the firm recruiting statistics and the salary statistics that at least the firms know that US News is wrong. They know that Hastings is a better lawyer factory than say UC Davis.

Say what you will against my studies but you have cited NO STUDIES (except for alamar? which nobody linked to) of your own that have found the same as US News... the weight of the evidence still cuts against the US News ranking.

6
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 17, 2006, 09:28:40 PM »
"You still have the problem of deciding which criteria are meaningful -- saying "other rankings using random criteria find differently" doesn't cut it.  You still have the problem of addressing Leiter's highly suspect methodology.  Furthermore, you've failed to cite "every other alternative ranking" out there."

Why is leiter's methodology so "suspect?" You're making a claim without any arguments or analysis behind it. I like Leiter's different rankings, they show you lots of different things about how schools stack up against each other. And in every single one of them Hastings is better than 43rd.

"The Ciolli study perhaps being the most important of these, but the ALAMAR rankings not being insignificant, nor the potentially forthcoming A-H rankings1."

I looked up the Ciolli study... the guys who did it are: "a 21-year-old kid from Queens who just finished his first year at Penn's law school, the other a college dropout and insurance salesman"

"Turns out Mr. Ciolli's delusions extend to the realm of politics.  As a Penn law student pointed out to me, Mr. Ciolli is also "very dissappointed with Bush" since "he is FAR too left wing for my tastes.""


http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2006/03/anthony_ciollis.html

Real reliable source there. But even still, in the Ciolli study, UC Hastings comes in at #33 in national firm placement! That's ten spots better than the 43 that US News has it at. (http://www.autoadmit.com/studies/ciolli/draft14.pdf#search='ciolli%20study') Pg. 35, appendix B.

"I think this is the key distinction useful in interpreting ratings.  Beyond the top 20 or 30 schools, regional reputation overwhelms other differences."

I completely agree. Which is why I think it is ridiculous that UC Davis is ranked ahead of Hastings when Hastings outperforms it in all of these alternative rankings. I think Davis is the best comparison to Hastings in terms of regions. But you are right if you want to practice in the midwest it's better to go to Wisconsin or something.

"Hastings is ranked #167 in student-to-faculty ratio.  Only 13 schools in the whole country are worse."

Good point, that should definitely be a factor in rankings.

"Hastings is #72 in bar passage rate among the top 100 schools."

That is a very inaccurate measure b/c it is nationwide instead of state by state. As many people know California is one of the hardest if not the hardest Bar exams to pass. When you look at the comparison to state averages, Hastings is #9 - just ahead of USC and well ahead of UC Davis in bar passage rate!

Those last two aren't really good factors to include in rankings.

Like I said before, This isn't just being displeased. This is clear evidence of numerous schools being over ranked and numerous schools being under ranked by US News. Every other study and ranking has Hastings higher than 43. Except for this Alamar thing that has hastings at 43... but I don't know what alamar is. So you still haven't found any rankings that put hastings worse than 43. Everything else has hastings better than  43 and one is tied at 43. I think you guys are the ones with the lack of evidence here, not me. Especially considering even one of the studies YOU cited - Ciolli - has hastings way higher than 43.

7
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 17, 2006, 05:43:34 PM »
"Indeed!  Two of the top 5 by USNWR have 500+ 1L class sizes, and one of those is likely overranked.  I would investigate the Hastings 1L class size, but LSAC is down (again)."

Hastings entering classes are a little more than 400 students with a total student body of 1,261. So it's up there in terms of size.

"Fallacy would be to say that just because some schools are underranked means that the entire ranking system is flawed.

ANY ranking system is going to leave SOME people displeased."

This isn't just being displeased. This is clear evidence of numerous schools being over ranked and numerous schools being under ranked by US News.

"Let's get down to brass tacks: only 30 schools can be in the top 30.  Hastings isn't one of them, so here's the crux... which schools would you displace in order to satisfy your ego, and under what methodology would you displace them?"

Well I'm not an expert but I like Brian Leiter's Educational Quality Rankings which are based on three factors: student quality, teacher quality, and quality of instruction. In those rankings Hastings is 29th overall. But I'm not saying that's the best alternative out there. My point is that if you look at EVERY OTHER ALTERNATIVE ranking out there, Hastings is ranked higher than it is in US News.

Of course, I also think salary and bar passage rate should be important. That is a major reason behind why people go to law school - it's a professional school that people go to to start careers.

"So is your argument that the US News rankings suck?  Or just that Hastings is underranked in these rankings?"

Both. Hastings is just one of many examples of how US News rankings are bogus.

"You're not at all clear on what your criteria for ranking schools should be.  You know that, don't you?  It's really quite pathetic.  At least Fordham trolls, while irritating, have a clear (if stupid) argument -- thank God there aren't more Hastings trolls, eh?"

Like I said, I like Leiter's rankings but I also think bar passage and salary are important. However, your point here does not really address my main argument, which is that under EVERY OTHER ALTERNATIVE RANKING out there - using numerous different criteria - Hastings is ranked higher than it is in US News. There is no statistical variance. In not one of those ranks does Hastings come in higher than the 43 spot it occupies in US News.

8
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 17, 2006, 02:36:28 AM »
"Let's get down to brass tacks: only 30 schools can be in the top 30.  Hastings isn't one of them, so here's the crux... which schools would you displace in order to satisfy your ego, and under what methodology would you displace them?"

I don't know how to compare hastings to schools outside of California but the best example I can give is UC Davis law school. It is ranked 34th in the most recent US News rankings. 9 spots ahead of UC Hastings. Yet Hastings has a far higher bar passage rate. Look at the bar passage rate site - http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/index.php/1/desc/SchoolvsBar - out of the California schools (which YOU CAN compare to) - Hastings is ranked just ahead of USC and a good 5% ahead of UC Davis.

I found a median salary report from last year. http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/median.php/1/desc/MSPrivate

Hastings is ranked 30th overall. UC Davis 45th overall.

I think those should be setting off big lightbulbs for everyone here that Hastings is better than US News has it and belongs at least in the top 40 if not the top 30.

9
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 17, 2006, 02:27:34 AM »
I would especially like to emphasize the last part of his critique:

"Even putting aside the fact that this formula, with its various weightings, is impossible to rationalize in any principled way, the really striking fact about the U.S. News methodology is surely the following:

More than half the criteria—over 54%--that go in to the final score can be manipulated by the schools themselves, either through outright (and undetectable) deceit, or other devices (giving fee waivers to hopeless applicants, employing graduates in temp jobs to boost employment stats, etc.).

More than one-third of the criteria that go in to the final score favor small schools and penalize large schools.

Reread the U.S. News rankings with these two pertinent facts in mind, and a lot that looks academically indefensible about the results (Chicago behind Columbia, Penn ahead of Berkeley, Duke ahead of Georgetown and Texas) may begin to make sense."


So now we have way more than just a couple of fallacies in the US News rankings. We have Chicago behind Columbia, Penn ahead of Berkeley, Duke ahead of G-town and Texas, and the underrankings of Tulane, Hastings, and Wisconsin. I am sure there are way more than that. US News rankings are bogus.

10
Law School Rankings / Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« on: September 17, 2006, 02:22:47 AM »
First of all I am not trying to argue Hastings should be ranked in the top 20 by US News I am just saying it is a lot better than 43rd and should be in the 20's or 30's. So you disagree with Leiter and think US News is a great ranking system. Awesome. I completely disagree with you... I agree with Leiter's critique of the US News rankings that he posted on his site:

http://www.leiterrankings.com/usnews/guide.shtml

"The U.S. News methodology for ranking law schools is confusing, comprising 12 different factors in 5 different categories.  It is crucial to recognize two things, however, at the start.  First, the relative weight of the factors varies dramatically, with some having a significant effect on the results (reputation, median numerical credentials, expenditures), while others matter hardly at all (size of the library, acceptance rates, bar passage rates).  Second, the factors vary quite a bit in their susceptibility to artificial manipulation by law schools.  However, the fact is some of the factors are highly manipulable, and, as a result, the overall ranking results are meaningless, though no less important, alas, because of that.

Note also that U.S. News has actually held its “methodology” for ranking schools constant since 1999, after making changes every year prior to that.  In 1999—a consequence of U.S. News having hired someone with expert knowledge of statistics—they made perhaps the single most dramatic change in their methodology:  they started adjusting per capita expenditures (item #6, below) to reflect differences in cost-of-living.  The results were so dramatic—Albama turned up in the top 50, Fordham and Boston College dropped out of the top 25 (BC has since returned)—that in 1999 U.S. News stopped printing the “Faculty Resources” rank (as they call this category):  it would have been too obvious how this irrelevant expenditures category had skewed the rankings.  (Of course, it still skews them, in favor of small schools like Yale and against large schools like Harvard, but more on that shortly.)

Here are the factors U.S. News employs to rank schools, in descending order of importance.  The factor in question is also described as either “Highly Manipulable,” meaning schools can exercise, through deceit or otherwise, a lot of control over this criterion; or “Not Manipulable,” meaning the criterion is basically beyond a school’s control.

Academic reputation (25% of the overall score).  Not Manipulable.  25% of the overall score is a function of academic reputation, as measured by a survey done mid-fall of some 700 law school deans and faculty (about two-thirds fill out the surveys).  Since US News switched to the new ranking scale in 1998 (1-5, where 1 is marginal and 5 is distinguished), there have been far fewer ties than there were early in the 1990s.  The scores have also stabilized in to predictable clusters of Yale, Harvard, Stanford; then Columbia and Chicago; then Michigan, NYU, Berkeley; then Virginia; then Penn; then Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, and Texas; then UCLA; then Vanderbilt; then Southern California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, and so on.  These results aren’t ridiculous, but, at least with regard to faculty quality, they are also dated:  NYU, for example, is clearly better than Michigan, and certainly on a par with Columbia; Chicago is at least on a par with Stanford; Yale is better than Harvard; and so on.  This is unsurprising given that evaluators are presented only with a list of 180 school names, and nothing more.  For a snapshot of what leading legal scholars think about faculty quality when actually presented with faculty lists, see http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/bleiter/rankings/rankings03.html.  Schools have little control over the results of the academic reputation survey:  even improving the quality of your school (its faculty, its student body) does not necessarily result in any increase in the academic reputation score.  (Case in point:  NYU has seen its academic reputation score decline during a period when both its faculty and student body improved.)  

15% of the overall score is based on reputation among lawyers and judges.  Not Manipulable.  These results reflect a survey of lawyers at large firms and federal and state judges.  The response rate is low:  less than one-third complete the surveys.  Because U.S. News only surveys large firms, the survey is also dramatically skewed towards the Northeast (especially New York City):  schools that have large alumni contingents in New York City perform, shall we say, suspiciously well in this survey by comparison to schools that are otherwise comparable.  Schools have little control over the results of this survey.

12.5% of the overall score is based on the median LSAT score.  Highly Manipulable.  This criterion is one of many that favors small schools.  Consider:  a school that enrolls 180 students each year, only needs to recruit 90 with an LSAT of, say, at least 164 in order to have a strong median LSAT.  A school that enrolls 450 each year, by contrast, will need to recruit 225 students (more than twice as many) with that LSAT to report the very same median.  Note also that U.S. News has no way of verifying the data reported by private schools, since the American Bar Association does not collect median LSAT data, only data about the 25th and 75th percentile.  So this factor is highly manipulable by the schools.

12% of the overall score is the employment rate 9 months after graduation. Highly Manipulable.  This data is entirely self-reported by schools, and should be treated as essentially fiction:  it may have elements of truth, but basically it’s a work of the imagination.  Schools report it, and U.S. News has no way of checking.  In addition, we know nothing about the nature of the employment—it could simply be as a research assistant, which is what Northwestern did a few years ago for its unemployed grads.

10% of the overall score is based on the median GPA of the entering class.  Highly Manipulable.  See the discussion in (3), above.  Note, too, that the feeder schools for a particular law school will have a significant effect on this criterion.  Example:  schools that draw on the “grade inflated” Ivy League have it easier than those that draw on universities with less rampant grade inflation.

9.75% of the overall score is average per capita expenditures for this year and the prior year for instruction, library, and supporting services.  Highly Manipulable.  This is the figure that is adjusted for differences in cost of living.  Once again, schools self-report the data.  This criterion, along with (3) and (5), gives a huge boost to small schools, since per capita measures penalize for economies of scale.  This explains how, in many years (including 2003), Harvard can have higher reputation scores than Yale, yet Yale will come out 1st and Harvard 3rd.  Harvard is three times the size, and that makes all the difference.

The preceding are the six major factors making up a school's overall score in US News. Together they account for 84.25% of the overall score.  Four of these factors are highly manipulable, and three favor small schools.  The remaining six factors in U.S. News (that account for just 15.75% of the overall score) are as follows:

6% of the overall score is the employment rate at graduation.  Highly Manipulable.  See the discussion in (4), above.

3% of the overall score is the student-teacher ratio.  ABA collects data on this, and so does U.S. News, but there are often discrepancies, which U.S. News appears to let slide.  So the manipulability of this category is unclear, but seems to be high.  Much depends on how schools “count” their faculty.

2.5% of the overall score is the acceptance rate for students.  Highly Manipulable.  As with (3) and (5), U.S. News has no way of verifying the data reported by private schools.  In addition, many schools inflate their “selectivity” by giving fee waivers to applicants who have no chance of getting in.  NYU is reported to have pioneered in this arena, but many others have followed suit.

2% of the overall score is the bar pass rate adjusted to reflect the avg. pass rate in the major jurisdiction where students take the exam.  Not Manipulable.

1.5% of the overall score is average per capita expenditures for the current and prior year on everything else OTHER than instruction, library & supporting services--so this includes utilities, financial aid, and the like.  Highly Manipulable.  As with (6), the criterion also favors small schools.  Stories abound about schools who, via little accounting changes here and there, boost their rank in this category astronomically.

 0.75% of the overall score is the total number of volumes in the library.  Not Manipulable.  Schools reports this data to the ABA, which means it is checkable.  (Schools that might lie to U.S. News are unlikely to lie to the ABA.)

Even putting aside the fact that this formula, with its various weightings, is impossible to rationalize in any principled way, the really striking fact about the U.S. News methodology is surely the following:

More than half the criteria—over 54%--that go in to the final score can be manipulated by the schools themselves, either through outright (and undetectable) deceit, or other devices (giving fee waivers to hopeless applicants, employing graduates in temp jobs to boost employment stats, etc.).

More than one-third of the criteria that go in to the final score favor small schools and penalize large schools.

Reread the U.S. News rankings with these two pertinent facts in mind, and a lot that looks academically indefensible about the results (Chicago behind Columbia, Penn ahead of Berkeley, Duke ahead of Georgetown and Texas) may begin to make sense."



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