Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The Daily Orange, Professors: First-year Curriculum May be Reason for Improved College of Law’s Bar Exam Pass Rate:
About 92 percent of Syracuse University College of Law graduates passed the state bar exam this summer, the university recently announced, marking a two-decade high pass rate.
Seven years ago, in 2010, SU’s College of Law had the lowest bar exam pass rate in New York after just about 70 percent of graduates passed the test — 16 percent lower than the state’s average that year, Syracuse.com reported.
A new law curriculum could be part of the reason why the college’s pass rate has improved, two professors said. ...
Greg Germain, a professor of law, who said he was speaking as a faculty member and not on behalf of the school, believes the improved pass rate could be attributed to the creation of a structured curriculum for students with a GPA below 2.5, he said in an email. Those students represent the bottom 25 percent of the class, Germain said.
“About four years ago, many members of the faculty became concerned about the low bar passage rate of our students in relation to our peer law schools,” Germain said. “The college hired a statistics expert to perform a statistical analysis to see if we could find what student attributes correlated with bar passage.” That expert found an “extremely high” statistical correlation between first-year grades and bar passage, Germain said. This review led to the development of curriculum for students at risk of failing the exam, the professor said.
The curriculum requires students to take eight upper division courses on material frequently part of the bar exam and a course on foundational bar exam skills. ... The curriculum also generally requires students with a GPA below 2.2 to “repeat the highly-tested first year courses in which they had received very low grades,” Germain said. ... “I felt that we had to try to improve the performance of the people in the bottom of the class by forcing them to focus on the fundamentals,” Germain said.