USNews Part-Time Rankings:
|I am beyond irked at this one, folks. I feel like someone promised me a great present and gave me a shiny new penny.|
What USNews has to say about the "methodology" of the rankings is better now (March of 2011) than it was when it was first posted in 2009, but it still falls short of any definition of methodology I've ever seen.
"The ranking of 80 part-time law school programs is based on a weighted average of four measures of quality.
"Quality assessment (weighted by .50): In fall 2010, deans and three faculty members at each school were asked to rate programs from marginal (1) to outstanding (5); 55 percent responded and scores for each school were averaged."
"Selectivity (weighted by .275): For part-time students entering in 2010, this measure combines median LSAT scores (81.8 percent of this indicator) and undergraduate GPAs (18.2 percent)."
"Part-time focus (weighted by .225): An index was created from data reported by the schools about their 2010 part-time programs. Factors used in the creation of this index include the size of part-time first-year sections; the size of part-time first-year small sections; and the number of positions filled by part-time students in seminars, simulation courses, faculty-supervised clinical courses, field placements, law journals, interschool skills competitions, and independent study."
"Schools received credit for reporting data and additional credit for surpassing a threshold value in the factors."
Now here's the punch line:
Where's the fourth "measure of quality"? .5 +.275 + .225 = 1, or 100% so the fourth "measure," whatever it was, was weighted zero. LOL!
Wow! If I were as vague as this in explaining how I compile my data, USNews wouldn't be quoting me in their books.
You want the actual ranking? Go pay them $15. Until they give a level of precision to the word "methodology" that the word itself implies, I'm not dignifying the gimmick — for that's the best it deserves to be called — further.
The new USNews rankings have so upset schools with part time programs that NOTHING you've read about part time programs, here or elsewhere, is reliable. There seem to be four responses to the issue so far.
In addition, the change in US News rankings has further hurt low-income applicants.