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Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs Re: [dahosek] Current MFA Rankings: Edit Log


Oct 4, 2011, 1:26 AM

Views: 22814
Re: [dahosek] Current MFA Rankings

You did adjust for cohort size, right? Some of those programs are 1000% larger than others -- meaning, they had 1,000 graduates on the publishing market for every 100 their "competitors" did. Of course, if you're looking at a ten-year span, the problem is exacerbated, because every year the smaller programs fall further "behind" in terms of their "market share" of graduates who could possibly be placing work in anthologies like Best American Short Stories. So, after one year has passed, one New York State Ivy League MFA (Cornell) has 8 graduates, while another New York State Ivy League MFA (Columbia) has 90. A difference of 82. After ten years, those numbers are 900 and 80 -- a difference of 820. And it's the ten-year figures that count when you assess publishing records (really, it's the twenty-year figures -- 1,800 for Columbia and 160 for Cornell -- as we'd expect graduates to be actively publishing for at least two decades post-graduation, at a minimum).
When you adjust for program size, you find that for every 1 placement on the Best American Short Stories list that Cornell gets, we should expect Columbia (using the twenty-year cohort data) to have 11+ placements merely to "stay even" with Cornell. This also means that until Columbia hits 11+ placements, we can't know if Cornell is "behind" or "ahead" in any publication-related ranking. I'd also add that you're only looking at fiction (poetry would be a different story; in any case, you need to compare the P&W genre rankings to your cohort-size-adjusted assessment here, not the P&W overall rankings), and that some programs focus their curriculum on short stories rather than novels, and some on novels instead of short stories, so until you know which programs focus on which -- a fact the programs do not advertise -- you can't know which programs you are unfairly benefiting by only looking at Best American Short Stories bios. But I can assure you, you are unfairly favoring some programs over others by not doing both a short-story and novel analysis of publishing records.
In any case, until you adjust for cohort size (data which is only available now because it was compiled for the P&W rankings), I'm afraid the numbers above just don't mean anything.

(This post was edited by umass76 on Oct 4, 2011, 1:28 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by umass76 (User) on Oct 4, 2011, 1:28 AM

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