Thursday, June 29, 2006

Insider Higher Ed Reports on USN&WR's Ranking of Baylor

The story that U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor University School of Law based on the wrong LSAT and GPA numbers has expanded beyond the blogosphere. See Rob Capriccioso, False Rank, Inside Higher Ed, June 28. I'm very happy to hand the matter over to professional reporters, as I remain uncertain what to do when someone tells me something important "off-the-record" or, even more perplexingly, when someone wants to retract a statement. I gather that Capriccioso and his ilk have ethical guidelines fitted to such problems.

Those and other aspects of the reporter's craft remain opaque to me. I thought Capriccioso did a fine job of offering a balanced report about the Baylor controversy. (Moreso, to be sure, than the catty commentators on his story.) So far as I can tell, he quoted me accurately. I thought it was funny, though, that he repeated this part of my explanation of why I wanted to created a model of the rankings: "I’m kind of a geek when you put me in front of Excel." I'd offered other, more sophisticated reasons for my obsession. Perhaps he thought he'd zeroed in on my real motivation. Perhaps he did.

At any rate, those who share my obsession will want to read Capriccioso's story. He offers some tidbits I'd never heard before, such USN&WR's explanation that the person they'd hired to catching errors such as the one in Baylor's numbers "has since left the publication for a new job." Capriccioso's story does not address the similar discrepancy in Florida's numbers, though he and I did talk about that puzzle. Perhaps he plans a future report on that topic.

Earlier posts about the 2007 USN&WR law school rankings:

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