U.S. News to Correct Data, Not Rankings, of Brooklyn, Hawaii, and Nebraska

Armen Hareyan's picture

As promised, Robert Morse, Director of Data Research at U.S. News, has responded to allegations of incorrect data being used in the 2010 U.S. News Law School Rankings of Brooklyn, Hawaii, and Nebraska in Updates to Some Grad School Data:

"A few schools have told us that they made errors reporting some of their data that were used in the newly published America's Best Graduate Schools 2010 rankings. U.S. News is not going to recalculate the rankings because of these mistakes, but we are soon going to correct the data on our website.

"Two law schools made errors in how they reported the information used to calculate the percentage of their 2007 graduating class that was employed nine months after graduation, which affected the new law school rankings. [The criteria counts 14% in the U.S. News methodology.] Both of these law schools would have ranked higher if these data had been used in the rankings. ..."

* [Nebraska originally reported 81.1% (rank of 177); its correct figure is 96.2% (rank of 90). Nebraska fell to Tier 3 in the overall rankings from #73 last year.]

* [Hawaii originally reported 90.7% (rank of 156); its correct figure is 100% (rank of 1). Hawaii fell to Tier 3 in the overall rankings from #82 last year.]

"In another law school ranking issue, we have received reports that Brooklyn Law School in New York appears to have given U.S. News only its 2008 full-time entering class admission data for the LSAT, undergraduate grade-point average, and applications and acceptances instead of the requested data combining full-time and part-time students for those same variables. U.S. News is waiting for the American Bar Association (ABA) to publish its 2008 ABA Annual Questionnaire information in order to cross-check Brooklyn Law's and other schools' statistics with the association's official data. U.S. News asked each law school to report the same data to U.S. News that they reported to the ABA on its 2008 annual questionnaire used for accreditation. The bar association has told us that its goal is to publicly post these data on its website by May 22."

Brooklyn has issued a statement explaining its actions:

We understand that there are questions concerning information provided by Brooklyn Law School to U.S. News & World Report in connection with the preparation of the magazine’s annual issue about law schools. For many years, we have engaged U.S. News editors in debate over what we regard as flaws in its rankings methodology. An important aspect of this debate has been our position that it is inappropriate to consider the numerical credentials (LSAT and GPA) of part-time students on the same basis as full-time students. ...

Consistent with our view of the appropriate methodology for rankings, we have for many years declined to provide U.S. News with LSAT/GPA information about our part-time students. We have done this openly and without deception. In the past, although U.S. News made part-time information available to its readers, it did not incorporate that information into its mathematical rankings model. When we learned that such a change was under consideration, we vociferously argued against it in a letter to U.S. News. We received no reply, and U.S. News did not announce this change in its methodology.

Accordingly, when we completed the 2009 questionnaire, we reported the LSAT/GPA information about our full-time students. Consistent with prior practice, we left blank the questions about LSAT/GPA of part-time students. Following these two questions was a question that sought combined LSAT/GPA information for all entering students – full-time and part-time. In prior years, we had left that line blank. This year, however, we mistakenly inserted only the information provided for the previous two questions – the LSAT/GPA information for our full-time students. This error was completely inadvertent. There was no intention to hide the existence of our part-time program, as evidenced by substantial other information we provided about our part-time program elsewhere in the questionnaire.

The National Law Journal looks into the issue in "U.S. News" Looks into Brooklyn Law's Survey Response; Law School Did Not Provide Some Information on Part-Time Students:

"The magazine said it would look into the matter after some rival law schools noted that Brooklyn Law wasn't listed in the part-time ranking and questioned whether the school also excluded part-time students in its responses for the overall ranking in an effort to boost its ranking. "We're still investigating the Brooklyn situation," said Bob Morse, the director of data research at the magazine."

By TaxProf Blog

Add new comment