Legal Education

ABA's Legal Ed Section seeks comments on proposed revision to admissions test standard

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Should the American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar devise a process to validate non-LSAT entrance exams? The council has requested notice and comment on how such a test might be established.

The proposed revision to Standard 503 calls for the council to establish a process that determines reliability and validity of other tests besides the LSAT. That’s a change from the current version, which directs law schools using alternate admissions tests to demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable.

Any changes would not take place prior to the 2018-2019 admissions cycle, according to a statement (PDF) the council released Monday. The group met in Santa Monica, California, March 10 and March 11.

Recently, the University of Arizona School of Law experimented with applicants submitting the GRE graduate school entrance exam scores instead of LSAT results. A study commissioned by the school that was performed Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE, argues that both tests accurately predict first-year law students’ grades.

And on March 8, Harvard Law School announced that it would accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT. The school completed a study earlier this year comparing the GRE and LSAT scores of current and former Harvard law students who took both tests and found that the GRE is equally valid to the LSAT for predicting first-year grades.

At its recent meeting, the council also requested notice and comment for a proposal to modify Standard 403 to require only that the first-third of a law student’s courses be delivered by full-time faculty. The current version of the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools (PDF) also requires that faculty teach more than half of all credit hours offered by accredited law schools.

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