Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What's Behind ABA's Decision to Accept Highest, Rather than Average, of Multiple LSAT Scores?

Over the summer, we blogged the decision by the ABA to change its accreditation standards by approving a recommendation from the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar to require law schools in computing the 75th percentile, median, and 25th percentile LSAT scores of their entering classes to report the highest score of matriculants who took the test more than once. The ABA's prior rules had required schools to report the average LSAT score of students who took multiple tests. The rule change follows similar action taken by the Law School Admission Council. Although the change will encourage students to take the LSAT more than once, current LSAC rules limits applicants to three tests in any two-year period.

Tom Bell questions the ABA's motivation for this policy change:

[P]erhaps you can tell me why that body decided to start ignoring repeat test-takers' average LSAT scores in favor of their high LSAT scores. I'm having trouble with that mental exercise. My natural skepticism keeps getting in the way. It causes me to dwell on the likelihood that LSAC stands to make a lot of money thanks to the policy change, which will lead many more students to retake the LSAT, and on the fact that the ABA's member law schools own and operate LSAC. Curious about the details of that organizational relationship, I've requested the LSAC's federal tax returns for the past three years. Perhaps the details in those dry documents will stimulate my imagination, making it easier for me to understand the reasons for the ABA's policy change.

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