TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Law Schools Examine Predictive Value Of GRE, LSAT

GRELSATABA Journal, Law Schools Examine Predictive Value of GRE, LSAT:

In 2016, the University of Arizona announced that its law school would accept Graduate Record Examinations scores as well as the traditional Law School Admission Test from applicants. Since then, debate has swirled around how valid and reliable both standardized tests are in predicting how applicants would perform in law school.

The Educational Testing Service, which designs and administers the GRE, claims that exam’s ability to predict law school success is comparable to that of the LSAT. The Law School Admission Council, which designs and administers the LSAT, counters that its exam is specifically designed to test skills needed to excel in law school, and that the validity of the exam has years of research.

“The LSAT is the only test designed specifically for legal education, the fairest mechanism to ensure a level playing field, and gives law schools a uniform method of assessing each applicant’s ability to thrive in their studies and in the profession,” Kellye Y. Testy, president and CEO of the organization, said in October. ...

Under a proposal being considered by the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, ABA-accredited schools could have more flexibility to consider alternate ways of testing applicants. ...

At the November meeting, Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education, noted that commissioning validity studies can be complicated.

“I don’t think it’s that easy to hire an expert and say, ‘Can you give us validity?’ ” Currier said. “They say, ‘Why don’t you tell me the validity you want, and I will give you a report.’ The devil is in the details.”

When the ABA Journal asked Currier whether any of the law schools that recently announced they would be accepting the GRE had submitted validity reports to the ABA, or if the organization had reviewed any submitted studies, he replied that it would be “premature to comment while the notice and comment period continues.”

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