Bar Exam

Faced with declining bar pass rates, Oklahoma changes the exam grading

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court has reacted to a decline in bar pass rates with a change in bar exam scoring.

The change is an apparent effort to make bar passage easier, Above the Law reports. The article notes that pass rates in the state have dropped from 83 percent in July 2012 to 68 percent in July 2015.

The court acted in an order in which four dissenters said there should be no change in the present scoring system, which is in line with national standards.

“The purpose of the bar examination is to screen applicants in such a way as to protect the public and to protect the reputation of the legal profession,” the dissenters said. “The bar examination should not be easy. It should be a rigorous test of legal knowledge and ability. The fact that there was a greater failure rate on the most recent bar examination is not a reason to change the examination’s grading or scaling.”

Above the Law criticizes the majority for its decision. “This is most certainly not a viable solution,” the blog says. “Bar exams should not be dumbed down to account for the intellect of the law school graduates taking them, and bar exam grading and scaling should not be made easier to accommodate the failings of law schools to properly cull their entering classes.”

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