Monday, January 01, 2007

Michigan's Proposition 2 and US News Rankings

Ah, this post combines two of the legal academic blogosphere's loves: rankings and race. Over at prawfsblawg, Mike Dimino asks an important question: what effect will the Sixth Circuit's upholding of Proposition 2 have on the US News rankings of the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State, assuming that race and gender are removed from the admissions and faculty hiring calculus. (He also asks whether race will be removed as a factor. That's an issue for another post and a subject on which I have few informed thoughts right now.)

Professor Dimino hypothesizes that there will be some increase in academic creditials of the law students. It'll be interesting to see what the changes in LSAT and gpa are. My guess is that they will be small, but we'll know soon. Moreover, as Domino points out, whatever changes there are may not be captured by the US News rankings (because US News measures student quality by mediam LSAT score and median gpa and any changes in admissions practice may not alter the medians). Given how notoriously static rankings are, I suspect there will be few changes in overall rank. There may be some changes in peer assessment scores, though that will not begin to appear until March 2008 at the earliest.

I'd like to suggest something else, which might be important: perhaps US News will begin to use a diversty index (like percentage of minority students) as a factor in their ranking. I wonder if US News is poised to start using minority percentage as a factor in their rankings? For, in 2005 they began publishing a diversity index. It doesn't yet count towards a school's overall rank, but perhaps US News will decide to factor that index into their rankings. They already collect that data and I suspect that it's not a large step from collecting data to using it.

Ah, US News has lots of power; they can decide what counts and I suspect that law schools will follow them. I hope to have some more thoughts on the virtues and hazards of employing a diversity index and what effects it might have later this spring.

The photograph of the University of Michigan Law School is by Professor Jean-Francois Raskin.

4 Comments:

Blogger Anthony Ciolli said...

The day US News starts to use a "diversity index" as part of its real rankings is the day most students will stop paying attention to it (assuming they publicize it and don't make it one of the "hidden" factors).

1/01/2007 6:56 PM  
Blogger Alfred L. Brophy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/02/2007 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems every year these rankings come out universities go out of their way to tell prospective students that the rankings are meaningless and they should not be taken into account when choosing a school. Assuming this is true, why should these schools care what their ranking is?

1/04/2007 10:59 PM  
Blogger Anthony Ciolli said...

Because schools know students aren't going to believe a word they say?

1/05/2007 12:40 AM  

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