The trend has been fewer applications for law school and smaller graduating classes. Now we see a drop in bar exam performance. The ABA Journal reports that, according to Above the Law, “Nationwide, scores on the Multistate Bar Exam are nearly three points lower than the national mean for the July 2013 exam, the largest year-to-year drop since the start of the test.” Why? The National Conference of Bar Examiners points to “less able” test takers to explain the drop in scores on the Multistate Bar Exam. What does that mean?
Lawyers don’t need multiple choice test-taking skills to be effective in their work, but law graduates must master this form of test-taking to gain a professional license. So law schools, and their curriculum committees, must consider the extent to which they will shoulder the responsibility for preparing students for the bar exam – including improving their ability to succeed on multiple choice tests. Even before this marked decline in scores, many schools had already changed their bar preparation efforts from subtle to overt.
But at a time when law schools are focusing on teaching integrated doctrine, skills, and values, an already ambitious undertaking, is it backtracking to reconsider the multiple choice test – like LSAT prep all over again – instead of progressively developing knowledge and true professional competence? Or is it appropriate to simultaneously develop the skills students need to pass the (often criticized) bar exam?
Filed under: Uncategorized |