Friday, June 03, 2005

The NY Bar Exam

They're considering raising the bar passing score in NY.
Bosse said the minimum certification score will be raised five points each year until 2007, in the interests of "public protection." Based on the exam's 1,000-point scale, the passing score will increase from 660 to 675. This is the exam's first passing-score change since 1979.

During his state Senate committee testimony, Standard also asserted that the new scores could have a "disparate impact" on minorities in the law profession. "Based on all the measures we have of test-passing abilities, minorities typically have lower scores," Standard said.

Standard spoke of a 1998 report from the Law School Admission Council, a non-profit corporation that supervises the Law School Admission Test. The study revealed that 91 percent of Caucasians passed their first bar exam, while only 61 percent of African-Americans and 74 percent of Hispanic aspirants passed the initial attempt.

Here's my question, at what score - other than some bare minimum that everyone would score - would there be equality in results among the races? I mean if disparate impact is the paramount concern then shouldn't the score be set accordingly? Is there such a score? I guess what I'm truly wondering is if it should even be a concern at all when determining what the passing score should be.

And what's the basis for saying that raising the scores would adversely affect minorities unequally? Maybe Caucasians are scoring at a higher rate between that 660 to 675 score and thus if you were to raise the passing score to 675 you could actually be bringing the Caucasian pass rate lower and more in line with the passing rate of minorities. And that would be good right? Because it's not that we want minorities passing at a higher rate so much as it is that we want everyone passing at the same rate as everyone else.

By the way, where's the stat on Asians? Don't we - and by "we" I mean "they" because I'm not really asian - count?


shell said...

I have a personal interest in this issue because I just found out I got accepted by a NY school. Could you please keep me posted if you find out? (vice versa courtesy, of course)

Wayne said...


Energy Spatula said...

Heh. That's harsh.

Wayne said...

Hey E-Spat, of all the posts, I thought you would comment to the one below.

Now that... is harsh.