Testing the Testers: The National Conference of Bar Examiners' LSAT Claim and a Roller Coaster Bar Exam Ride

Mississippi College Law Review, Volume 35, Issue 3, Forthcoming

U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-35

44 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2016 Last revised: 18 Jan 2017

Scott Johns

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: September 22, 2016

Abstract

Ostensibly, the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) is a consistent measurement of minimum competency to serve as an officer of the court. But bar exam pass rates have been undergoing substantial declines as of late. Although the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) posits a variety of possible reasons for the declines, the NCBE provides empirical evidence for one claim, namely, that bar exam declines correspond with similar declines in Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores by admitted law students (and therefore, by implication, subsequent bar exam test takers). Taken at its face value, the NCBE’s LSAT claim seems reasonable. In this article, we test the NCBE’s LSAT claim using step-by-step empirical analysis of a database of all University of Denver first-time Colorado bar exam takers for July bar exams for the period 2008 to 2015. Based on statistical analysis, the NCBE’s LSAT claim lacks merit.

Suggested Citation

Johns, Scott, Testing the Testers: The National Conference of Bar Examiners' LSAT Claim and a Roller Coaster Bar Exam Ride (September 22, 2016). Mississippi College Law Review, Volume 35, Issue 3, Forthcoming; U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2842415

Scott Johns (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

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