Bar Exam

ExamSoft settles 'barmageddon' suit; did problems lead to lower exam scores?

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Bar exam takers who experienced delays and failures when trying to upload completed exams last July are entitled to $90 each as a result of a class action settlement.

The software maker, ExamSoft Worldwide Inc., agreed to pay $2.1 million to settle a class action in five consolidated lawsuits, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) reports. U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro of Miami gave preliminary approval to the settlement on Tuesday.

The technical glitches affected test takers in 43 states, leading bloggers to dub the problems “Barmageddon.”

The July bar exam results were the lowest in a decade. Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, suggested in a memo that the problem was caused by a group of test takers that was “less able” in 2014. Professor Jerry Organ of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis argued in a Legal Whiteboard post last week that the “ExamSoft debacle” is at least partly responsible for the lower scores.

Organ says the technical problems occurred on a Tuesday when exam takers—who were initially informed they would fail the exam if their answers weren’t submitted in a timely manner—were trying to upload essay answers. On Wednesday, these test-takers were scheduled to take the multistate bar exam.

Given that thousands of test-takers spent Tuesday night “completely anxious and stressed out trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to upload their essay answers, should it be a surprise that they might have underperformed somewhat on the MBE on Wednesday?” Organ asks.

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