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USNews -- What's in a Ranking?

And that, my friends, is exactly the problem:
what's in the ranking?

USNews doesn't tell you anywhere at all. Oh, they throw lots of words at you about their methodology. But the numbers they show you aren't the numbers they use in the methodology.

Just for instance: they show you the 25th and 75th percentile LSAT scores — of what? Full-time only, or full- and part-time combined? They never say. And then they base the ranking on the median LSAT score, which is published — noplace! Nowhere in the whole universe! The ABA hasn't published yet, LSAC hasn't published yet, and USNews has based a calculation on a secret number.

Way to go, Morse.
Didn't George Orwell write about this?

Another problem with the ranking is that it combines, apples, oranges, steaks and Studebakers; even Lewis Carroll made more sense!

Just for instance: it might mean something to know that UCLA has a bar pass rate of over 90% in a state (California) with a bar pass rate of 85%. But how do we compare that to Wisconsin's 100% bar pass rate? U. Wisconsin grads don't take a bar exam — they pass automatically! UW and Marquette ace the bar pass ranking. And Indiana U. at Indianapolis (where students DO take a bar exam) doesn't have a bar pass rate — explain that one, please!

While we're on the subject of secret numbers, lets talk about the nifty new part time ranking over here.

So my verdict is that the US News ranking is the most meaningless number you can look at. There's some good data published, and some interesting background info, but the ranking itself is worse than bad.

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