Thursday, October 12, 2017
ABA Journal, ABA Legal Ed Committee Suggests Changes to Rule on Law School Admissions Tests:
After recent announcements from various law schools that they will accept the GRE from applicants in addition to the LSAT, an American Bar Association section committee recently made various accreditation standard recommendations, including doing away with the separate admissions test rule entirely.
In March, the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar sought notice and comment for a proposed revision to Standard 503 — which covers admission tests — that called for the council to establish a process that determines the reliability and validity of other tests besides the LSAT. That’s a change from the current version, which directs law schools using alternate admissions tests to demonstrate that the exams are valid and reliable.
The section’s Standards Review Committee — which met Friday and Saturday in Boston —recommends that the council reject the earlier proposal, and consider three options:
- Eliminate Standard 503 and revise Standard 501 — which requires admitting competent candidates — so that it includes having a valid admissions test as a factor for determining whether a law school is in compliance with the rule. Under this proposal, the requirement of having a valid and reliable admissions test would be removed from the standards.
- Revise Standard 503 to require an admissions test that assesses applicants’ capabilities, and require that law schools publish lists of accepted tests. Under that recommendation, there would be no requirement that the council determines whether the admissions tests are valid and reliable.
- Keep requirement that admissions tests be valid and reliable, but remove “protection” that the March proposal granted to the LSAT.
The section’s council will consider the recommendations at its November meeting in Boston. ...
The standards review committee also addressed distance learning, faculty teaching requirements and diversity at its recent meeting. The group recommended that the council adopt a proposed revision to remove a percentage requirement for overall curriculum taught by full-time faculty, and send out for notice and comment a proposal regarding distance learning that would allow a law school to give students credit for up to of 50 percent work needed for a law degree.