February 21, 2013
The Saga Continues: National Jurist Admits the Obvious -- The Rate My Professors Data Used in its Law School Rankings is Pretty Damn Inaccurate
But the editorial staff of National Jurist fails to also admit the even more significant info antic obvious; the data sources in Rate My Professors cannot be verified. Citing the opps from the rag known as National Jurist about its goofy as hell law school rankings, University of Chicago Law prof Brian Leiter writes in Two-thirds of "Rate My Professors" data that National Jurist used was inaccurate, magazine now admits:
And by "inaccurate," they mean only that the lists included non-law faculty or faculty who didn't teach at the school in question--they do not mean that the data itself actually reflects the opinon of law students about professors whose classes they really took. No one has any way of confirming that.
Let's add there is no way to determine if law profs gamed their own Rate My Professors rankings. Call me cyncial, but that possibility certainly is not beyond the realm of law prof ego-driven imagination. I'm thinking James Boyd White should have included a chapter on his theory of law as constitutive rhetoric by applying his critique to the culture of the legal academy with a study of published law prof-law school "Yippee!" in The Legal Imagination.
Leiter adds, "[National Jurist] still should withdraw the entire ranking, and hire some educational and statistical consultants to come up with a worthwhile metric." Perhaps National Jurist should just get out the law school rankings game completely. Will National Jurist publish another rankings next year? Wait 'n see.
Right now, however, it is time to gear up for this year's annual ritual known as US News Law School Rankings -- forthcoming in law prof blog posts near you, no doubt. Let's ditto that for law school PR fodder. [JH]