March 6, 1997 in Nation/World

News Weekly Being Recalled; Ratings Of Grad Schools Flawed

The Baltimore Sun

Editors at U.S. News and World Report scrambled Wednesday to recall hundreds of thousands of copies of their annual compilation of rankings of the nation’s graduate and professional schools, after realizing they had used incorrect figures to assess American law schools.

“Nobody here can feel good about it,” said Alvin P. Sanoff, the news weekly’s managing editor for the America’s Best Colleges issues. “We’re doing everything possible to remedy it.”

The flawed ratings appear in the editions of U.S. News currently for sale; a corrected version will appear in next week’s issue. Also, Editor James Fallows said the magazine had arranged for the replacement of hundreds of thousands of copies of the magazines’ book-length compilation of all the ratings of 33 graduate and professional programs. He said it would cost approximately $500,000.

“We didn’t want to be in the position of knowingly selling erroneous data,” Fallows said. “This is a specific clerical error which we take so seriously that we are correcting it at great expense.”

In speaking with a law dean Monday evening, the magazine’s data guru, Robert Morse, noticed that the numbers the dean cited for his school’s unemployed graduates seeking jobs at law firms matched the figures in a column intended to represent unemployed graduates not seeking jobs. He found that a computer program errantly switched the two figures.

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