A number of sources have been critical of our Best Law School ranking since it was released On February 8th. Almost all of this criticism is related to the use of data from RateMyProfessor .com, a website where students can rate their professors.
Our most vocal critic, Brian Leiter, a law professor at the University of Chicago, has stated that RateMyProfessors is a “notorious on-line rating site used mainly by undergraduates, and hardly at all by law students.”
He reports that RateMyProfessor includes professors that are not on the law faculty, thereby skewing the results. Others have reported that the ratings include former faculty in the final scores.
When we were deciding which data to use to represent student satisfaction, we carefully compared the Princeton Review and RateMyProfessor scores. In the aggregate, we found a strong correlation between the two studies. However, there are some schools with vastly different scores. Leiter’s own university, The University of Chicago, had the greatest disparity.
We now believe we made an error with the University of Chicago data. The current data on the site does not match with the data we collected in November. While the site is ever changing and being updated, the differential is too great to be anything other than an error on our part.
We are now reviewing the RateMyProfessor data for all law schools with significant variances from the Princeton Review data, being careful to exclude non-law professors and former law professors. We expect to have this review done by Feb. 19.
We will make corrections in the digital and iPad version of the magazine as soon as we complete this review, and we will list all corrections here on this website.
We apologize for any errors and want to ensure our readers that we take accuracy very seriously. We will make whatever corrections are necessary to ensure a fair and accurate study. If we find that the RateMyProfessor inaccuracies are significant and prevalent, we will consider removing it as a data source from the study.
We still believe that the voice of students is essential to any ranking that is designed to identify the best schools for students, and we feel we have put together a thoughtful and important ranking. But we recongize that poor quality data would leave the ranking marred. Our primary goal is to help students and prospecitve law with useful and accurate data. At the end of this review, we have all confidence that this study will meet our goal.
We ask readers to notify us of any other potential errors and we will look into the matter promptly.
Editor In Chief