Following up on my previous post, Muller: February 2017 MBE Bar Scores Collapse To All-Time Record Low: ABA Journal, Multistate Bar Exam Scores Drop to Lowest Point Ever; Is There a Link to Low-end LSAT Scores?:
The average score on the multistate bar exam in February 2017 dropped by another point, reaching the lowest level since the exam was first administered in 1972.
Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, confirms that the average score was 134.1, compared to an average score of 135 in February 2016.
The decline likely portends another drop in overall bar passage rates, according to the blog Excess of Democracy, which broke the news after finding the information in statistics released by the state of Pennsylvania. Above the Law and TaxProf Blog note the blog post. ...
Moeser attributed the February drop in MBE scores partly to differences in law school admission patterns. Law school applications are declining, she said, “without a consistent decline in terms of the number of students enrolled.”
Does that mean that exam scores are falling because of a decline in law school standards? “I wouldn’t say that,” Moeser said. “That would enrage the law schools. I do think we’re looking at different enrollment patterns, and we’re looking at decisions on who to admit.” ...
Moeser acknowledges a change the February 2017 test, but she says the NCBE is confident it “was of no consequence.” Previously, the test score was based on 190 questions; another 10 “pretest” questions were there to gauge whether to include them on future tests. The February 2017 test was based on 175 questions, and another 25 were pretest questions.
Derek Muller (Pepperdine), The Best Ways to Visualize the Impact of the Decline in Bar Passage Scores:
[T]he reason for the perilous drop in bar pass rates is because this is exactly the spot where the mean scores have begun to hit the cut scores in many jurisdictions. Here's a visualization of what looks like, with a couple of changes — a larger y-axis, historical data for the February bar back to 1976, and gridlines identifying the cut scores in several jurisdictions.