Bar Exam

Some law professors blame student quality for continued drop in bar exam scores

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The national mean score of bar exams’ standardized multiple-choice sections fell again for July 2015 test takers, resulting in the average being at its lowest in more than 25 years, the National Conference of Bar Examiners reports.

According to Bloomberg Business, the mean score for the July 2015 multiple choice section was 139.9. July 2014 test takers had a mean score of 141.5 on the multiple choice section, and the section’s mean score for July 2013 was 144.3, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported.

“It was not unexpected,” Erica Moeser, the organization’s president, told the publication. “We are in a period where we can expect to see some decline, until the market for going to law school improves.”

Pass rates for individuals who took July bar exams are also down, according to the article. Derek Muller, a Pepperdine University School of Law professor, notes that some law schools are lowering their admissions standards.

“There isn’t a lot that schools can do,” he says. “You can only train students so far and so much, a lot depends on ability.”

Others mention that the multiple-choice questions are getting harder. In 2015, the multiple-choice section added civil procedure questions.

“We have a harder exam, so people will get more questions wrong, and that will bring the pass rates down,” Deborah Merritt, a law professor at Ohio State University, told Bloomberg.

See also: “Will dropping bar passage rates create too few lawyers for available jobs? Experts assess the stats”

Updated Sept. 24 to include link to subsequent coverage.

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