S.C. Bar Asks Court to Explain Bar Exam Grading Change
Posted Nov 16, 2007 12:33 PM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The South Carolina Bar’s board of governors is asking the state supreme court to explain more fully why it changed the bar exam results for 20 test-takers, including the daughters of a trial judge and a state legislator with judiciary responsibilities.
The statement indicates the bar is distancing itself from the controversy, the TheState.com reports.
“The S.C. Bar encourages those charged with responsibility for the bar examination to further explain what happened and take steps to avoid a recurrence of these events,” the statement said. “The S.C. Bar has no role in any aspect of the bar examination process and has no information other than what has been stated by the Supreme Court.”
Among those whose grades changed from fail to pass were the daughters of Judge Paul Burch and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Harrison. The state supreme court acted at first with no explanation, then said on its website that it decided to drop the section of the exam on wills, trusts and estates because of a scoring error reported by the examiner for the section.
An op-ed in TheState.com also called for a better explanation. It raised questions about assertions by Burch that he called the chairman of the state Board of Law Examiners merely to inquire about the appeal process, and by Harrison that he called both the chairman and the state high court only to inquire about a potential problem.
“We’d like to believe all that, just as we like to give our supreme court the benefit of the doubt in all situations—something we tend to believe it deserves. But until the court better explains its handling of this affair, we can’t,” the op-ed said.
The newspaper said more information is needed about the scoring error and how the examiner discovered it, the failure rate on the section as compared to other sections of the test, and whether the examiner was aware of the phone calls by Harrison and Burch.
A hat tip to Feminist Law Professors, which posted the stories.