Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt), Toward A Mission-Based Ranking?, 60 Jurimetrics J. 75 (2019):
Law schools exist to generate knowledge about law and the legal system and to prepare students for entry into the profession. Law school rankings, in turn, should evaluate schools on their success in carrying out this two-part mission. ... I propose that U.S. News replace its current ranking with a mission-based ranking. U.S. News could do this in any number of ways, but I propose below three steps U.S. News could take toward that end:
- Replace Subjective Surveys with Objective Measures of Scholarly Impact ...
- Retain, But Tweak, the “Placement” Category ...
- Eliminate Remaining Criteria as Irrelevant or Harmful ...
The approach I propose here is imperfect—all rankings are!—but it offers several advantages over the current U.S. News approach. First, it rests on a clearly articulated rationale—law school mission—rather than a hodgepodge of criteria, including some, like library volumes, that are meaningless, and others, like expenditures per JD student, that are pernicious. Second, it focuses solely on objective measures rather than relying heavily on subjective measures, as U.S. News does now (40 percent of the ranking is based on surveys). Finally, consistent with general trends in educational assessment, it focuses solely on outcomes—and not just any outcomes, but outcomes tied to law school mission
The mission-based ranking I propose in this comment would provide more meaningful information to our various constituencies—prospective students, prospective faculty, current students, current faculty, university leaders, legal employers, alumni—about how law schools are actually performing. That, in turn, would inform better decision-making on the part of those very same constituencies, which is ostensibly what U.S. News hopes its rankings will do.
- Paul J. Heald (Illinois) & Ted M. Sichelman (San Diego), Ranking the Academic Impact of 100 American Law Schools, 60 Jurimetrics J. 1 (2019)
- Gregory C. Sisk (St. Thomas), Measuring Law Faculty Scholarly Impact by Citations: Reliable and Valid for Collective Faculty Ranking, 60 Jurimetrics J. 41 (2019)
- Adam S. Chilton (Chicago) & Jonathan S. Masur (Chicago), What Should Law School Rankings Measure and How Should We Measure it: A Comment on Heald & Sichelman's Rankings, 60 Jurimetrics J. 61 (2019)
- Gregory N. Mandel (Temple), Measure for Measure: The Risks of Incorporating Citations Data into U.S. News Rankings, 60 Jurimetrics J. 69 (2019)
- Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt), Toward A Mission-Based Ranking?, 60 Jurimetrics J. 75 (2019)