Paul L. Caron

Monday, September 19, 2011

Illinois Bombshell: Class of 2014 Median LSAT/GPA Is 163/3.70, Not 168/3.81

Illinois Logo Following up on my prior post, Did Illinois Inflate LSAT (168), GPA (3.81) Medians to Goose U.S. News Ranking?: Illinois today dropped this bombshell:

The accurate, independently verified data for the class of 2014’s Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores and grade point averages (GPA) are as follows: median LSAT, 163; median GPA, 3.70. Information originally posted on the College of Law website last month inaccurately listed the median LSAT score as 168 and the median GPA as 3.81.

From the press release:

After the inaccurate information had been posted it was brought to the attention of the University Ethics Office, which promptly verified the credibility of the report. The data were withdrawn from the college’s website and University leadership directed the Office of University Counsel to immediately launch an inquiry with the assistance of outside legal counsel, the law firm Jones Day, and independent data analyst Duff & Phelps.

The erroneous information for the class of 2014 had not been reported to the American Bar Association (ABA), the accrediting institution for law schools, or to organizations that rank colleges. As part of its inquiry, the University self-reported the matter to the ABA and has kept it informed about the situation.

"The University of Illinois College of Law sincerely regrets the inaccuracy of our previous posting, and the confusion and concern that this matter has caused," said Richard Wheeler, provost of the Urbana-Champaign campus. "This University places the highest priority on accuracy and integrity. All data and any causes of error will be reviewed rigorously and comprehensively, with appropriate action taken. We will share the outcome of our inquiry into this matter as soon as it is thoroughly addressed."

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Sue the bastards!

Posted by: John Skookum | Sep 21, 2011 12:31:35 AM

Come on-- what is the law school *supposed* to do when it discovers fraud by one of its employees? If it calculated the median without using an outside party, you'd all be claiming it was still fraudulent.

Perhaps the administration at Illinois is to blame, but these first reports make it look as if it's responding just as it should.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Sep 20, 2011 6:59:19 PM

Why is a calculator required to determine a median?
Better question, how does one use a calculator to determine a median?
Much less why use an "independent data analyst"?

Posted by: MikeinAppalachia | Sep 20, 2011 2:54:08 PM

I am waiting for a couple of hundred other shoes to drop.

Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Sep 20, 2011 11:55:07 AM

"University leadership directed the Office of University Counsel to immediately launch an inquiry with the assistance of outside legal counsel..."

IOW the fox has just hired another fox to assist in an investigation of potential wrongdoing within the hen house.

Posted by: ThomasD | Sep 20, 2011 11:36:06 AM

As usual, the practice of law is not about the truth, but rather convincing others that something is true.

Posted by: disgusted alum | Sep 20, 2011 11:16:48 AM

Ethics. Ethics. We don't need no damn ethics.

Posted by: PTL | Sep 20, 2011 10:18:54 AM

Yeah. It is elementary school-level arithmetic,but they must have lost their

Posted by: PTL | Sep 20, 2011 10:17:36 AM

What do you expect? Comes from the same school that was giving preferential treatment to applicants who were friends of the administration and/or made big donations.

Posted by: anon | Sep 20, 2011 10:09:21 AM

"multidisciplinary studies like statistics"

You don't need a course in statistics to determine what a median is. That's elementary school-level arithmetic.

Posted by: Hockey Bum | Sep 20, 2011 10:01:47 AM

Chances are, this was done in conjunction with the admissions office and/or the Institutional Research department. If so, this is a conspiracy to commit fraud as well.

Posted by: Half Canadian | Sep 20, 2011 10:01:38 AM

I like how they hired Jones Day and an "indpendent data analyst" to calculate the LSAT scores and college GPAs of a few hundred people.

Posted by: hippdoghipp | Sep 20, 2011 9:43:07 AM

That's a hell of a rounding error.

Posted by: The False God | Sep 20, 2011 9:11:26 AM

Leaving aside potential *legal* liability for the universe of law professors who look the other way when their schools lure applicants/hiring firms by means of manipulated statistics, what about the potentially much broader sweep of *ethical* violations?

The schools may have weasel-worded their way out legal liability (they are "law" schools after all) but might we see professors being disbarred for both actively and passively engaging in this behaviour?

Posted by: cas127 | Sep 20, 2011 9:02:16 AM

"So, Mr. Pless," said the law school dean, "I didn't know our LSAT medians were that high--that's good news--and it sure helps with the US News rankings."

"Thanks, Dean. It IS nice to see we are doing so well. "

"Glad we got you on the job."

"Thanks, sir."

Posted by: Lowellguy | Sep 20, 2011 9:02:16 AM

While accurate info is always nice, the school didn't violate the law did it? I don't know anything about these laws.... Is there a law that requires accurate info be reported to this for-profit company (or nonprofit, if it is nonprofit)? Can't schools just make up whatever they want?

I can't help but wonder if maybe school administrators even have a duty to report this type of inflated information to various for profit companies.... They are paid to promote their schools....

Posted by: anon | Sep 20, 2011 7:02:42 AM

Just goes to show that law schools ought to stick to teaching law and not dabble in multidisciplinary studies like statistics.

Posted by: Jake | Sep 19, 2011 6:46:34 PM

And of course, this is isolated to this year. and of course, this is isolated to Illinois (oh, and Villanova).

If there were ever a hint that the feds need to get involved on a massive investigative scale, this is it...

LAW PROFESSORS STAND UP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2011 4:49:36 PM

Wow. That's a pretty huge discrepancy

Posted by: anon | Sep 19, 2011 2:30:10 PM