Thursday, February 17, 2011
There's no direct way to measure the quality of an institution -- how well a college manages to inform, inspire, and challenge its students. So the U.S. News algorithm relies instead relies instead on proxies for quality -- and the proxies for educational quality turn out to be flimsy at best. ...
[The U.S. News rankings don't] include price. Both its college rankings and its law-school rankings reward schools for devoting lots of financial resources to educating their students, but not for being affordable. Why? [Robert] Morse admitted that there was no formal reason for that position. It was just a feeling. ... U.S. News thinks that schools that spend lots of money on their students are nicer than those that don't, and that this niceness ought to be factored into the equation of desirability. ...
[G]iven that the rising cost of college has become a significant social problem in the United States in recent years, you can make a strong case that a school ought to be rewarded for being affordable. So suppose we go back to [Jeff] Stake's rankings game, and re-rank law schools based on ... a three-factor ranking, counting value for the dollar at 40%, LSAT scores at 40%, and faculty publishing at 20% [using 2008 data]. ...
- U. Washington
- William & Mary
- George Mason
- Washington & Lee
- North Carolina
- Wake Forest
- Texas Tech
- District of Columbia
- Arizona State
- Puerto Rico
- South Dakota
- Arkansas-Little Rock
[T]he Yales of the world will always succeed at the U.S. News rankings because the U.S. News system is designed to reward Yale-ness. ... Rankings are not benign. They enshrine very particular ideologies, and, at a time when American higher education is facing a crisis of accessibility and affordability, we have adopted a de-facto standard of college quality that is uninterested in both of those factors.
Begin the clip at 34:45:
- ABA Journal, Is BYU’s Law School No. 2 in US? Malcolm Gladwell Puts It Behind Chicago
- Conglomerate, What Do the Law Schools at Chicago and BYU Have in Common?
- Poets & Quants, Malcolm Gladwell Trashes Rankings
- Truth on the Market (Larry Ribstein), Gladwell on US News
- Volokh Conspiracy, Malcolm Gladwell’s Law School Rankings
- Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Malcom Gladwell Ranks the Law Schools! (Congrats to BYU)