Rankings—all about the name?

Imagine a law school ranking in which the University of New Hampshire’s law school outranked Franklin Pierce.  Why would this be funny?  Because UNH is Franklin Pierce—UNH took over the private law school this past fall.  But in a recent survey that included both names, respondents thought that UNH was substantially better than Franklin Pierce!

Of course, UNH can’t be better than Franklin Pierce—they’re the same school.  And that’s the problem with reputation rankings (which, I’ll remind you, represent 40% of US News & World Report’s ranking system).  All form, no substance.