Update, 1:51 p.m. This post has been changed to correct inaccuracies in the original.
GW Law School placed 28th in the 2010 U.S. News and World Report survey of the nation’s best law schools, released yesterday. The rank represents a substantial drop for the Law School, which was ranked No. 20 last year.
The drop may have been largely due to a change in the methodology U.S. News uses to compile the rankings. For the first time, the organization combined admissions data for part-time and full-time students. In past years, they had only included full-time students.
Director of Data Research Bob Morse told the Wall Street Journal his magazine believed some schools were “gaming the system” by funneling students with less impressive credentials into part-time programs.
Of the other five schools in the top 50 that have part-time programs, Fordham University and George Mason University both dropped three places, while the University of Maryland dropped one position. American University moved up one spot to 45, while Georgetown kept its 2009 ranking at 14.
In the category specifically for part-time schools, GW was ranked second in the country, behind Georgetown.
In a statement, Law School Dean Frederick Lawrence attributed the drop to the change in methodolgy, claiming the school “continued to improve in many ways that cannot be measured accurately or adequately by any ranking system.” He further cautioned students against placing too much emphasis on the rankings, saying that most academics view the rankings as “flawed.”
Hatchet Reporter David Heller examined the changes to the methodology in an article last semester.