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April 18, 2008

What if there were two competing rankings?

In an earlier post, I suggested the idea of a BCS calculation for law school rankings, which would combine the U.S. News poll with other, less prominent, rankings.  It is a project I intend to pursue, and am now evaluating other rankings which could be included.

This plan is not entirely consistent with the BCS calculations, which include not one but two major rankings and several minor ones.  The two major polls (of writers and coaches) contribute the most weight to the final outcome.  Because there is no other ranking as important as U.S. News, it is impossible to come up with an identical two-major construct in evaluating law schools.

The dominance of U.S. News in this area is intriguing.  Why has no other major media source challenged this dominance, given how lucrative those issues must be?  Britain provides a counter-example, where both the Times and Guardian newspapers compete in producing university rankings.  Notably, they use different formulas, with the Times being more focused on research and total resources.  Wouldn't it be great to see Time Magazine, for example, step up to the plate?  Perhaps a second major ranking could even include a measurement for innovation...

-- Mark Osler

April 18, 2008 | Permalink


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