Bar Exam

July NY Bar Answers Lost for 47; Officials Estimate Scores

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When answers to the New York bar exam written on laptop computers this past summer turned up missing, officials said they expected to be able to get the answers from backup data.

But in fact a fraction of those answers apparently could not be retrieved from test-takers’ hard drives, so the scores of those affected were determined based on how they did on the rest of the bar exam, according to a press release today from the New York State Board of Law Examiners. (There was good news for many examinees, though—first-time test-takers from the state’s 15 law schools had a pass rate of 88.2 percent, described as “the highest passing rate in memory for graduates of New York law schools.”)

Originally, some 400 answers from the July 2007 bar exam were missing, as discussed in an earlier post. In the end, far fewer test-takers were affected: “one or more of the essay answers for 47 candidates could not be recovered,” the press release states, so officials estimated their scores.

This is how it was done, the release says: “Fifteen of these candidates passed the examination based on their performance on the balance of the examination, with no credit being given for any missing essay. Seventeen candidates failed the examination even when attributed a perfect score on any missing essays. The remaining 15 candidates were given estimated scores based upon their performance on the balance of the examination, and their probability of passing was computed.”

After working with researchers at the National Conference of Bar Examiners to develop an appropriate methodology, the board applied it. The result: Nine of the remaining candidates passed, and six failed. Those who failed for this reason were notified about how the board reached this conclusion.

A complete list of those who passed the July bar exam in New York will be posted tomorrow on the board’s Web site.

(Hat tip: New York Personal Injury Law Blog.)

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