Monday, August 01, 2005

SWLAW Way Behind In The Game

The NY Times has an article on how law schools try to manipulate the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Critics say law schools are engaged in an LSAT and G.P.A. arms race in which they exploit technicalities in U.S. News's methodology. Admissions people know, for example, that the rankings are calculated using grades and scores of only full-time students.

Rutgers School of Law, Camden, for example, has been shrinking its full-time program and increasing its part-time division for the last seven years. About 60 first-year students - many with less competitive LSAT's or grades - take one course in the summer to ease their load in the fall. By taking a three-quarters schedule, the students are considered part time. The school has moved up from No. 78 in 2003 to 65 this year.

It's not so much gaming the rankings as pressure to play the game, say many deans. "You distort your policies to preserve your ranking, that's the problem," says Mr. Kramer of Stanford. "These rankings are corrosive to the actual education mean because this poll takes the following 12 criteria and now you have to fetishize them."

So is SWLAW playing the game poorly, not playing the game at all, or playing the game well but way overmatched?

3 comments:

Kim Plaintive said...

They're just waiting it out until "Reality TV Presence" becomes a US News category.

Todd said...

Hmmm... Well there are a few inconsistencies though. For example:
Southwestern is 3.13-3.64 and 153-157 on its 25-75 percentiles last year and ranked 3rd Tier while you have schools like Univ. of New Mexico with a 3.09-3.68 and 150-159 ranked 69 with an arguably worse stat than SW.
Other anomalies occur with 22 ranked Univ. of Iowa having a 3.32-3.82 and 156-163 while similar stats are found at 63 ranked Villanova with 3.30-3.70 and 157-162.
There's more to it than this article implies. Then again, since when did the NY Times concern itself with the full disclosure of all the facts.

shell said...

I propose law schools and/or ABA come up with their own rankings. If you can't fight them, exploit them (or create a competition) mwahaha...