Following up on my previous posts (links below): Wall Street Journal, LSAT’s Grip on Law-School Admissions Loosens:
Law schools are toying with a new way to boost shrinking applicant pools: dropping the Law School Admission Test requirement.
University of Arizona College of Law began accepting Graduate Record Examination scores in lieu of the LSAT as an option for applicants this month, and other schools say they are weighing the same move. Arizona Law will continue accepting LSAT scores as well.
The change counters decades of reliance on the LSAT to gauge readiness for a legal education. The median LSAT score of incoming students is also used as a key measure in closely followed national rankings of schools.
Arizona Law administrators say they have proved the GRE is just as effective a measure and that it complies with accrediting rules. Traditionally, the GRE has been used for admission to graduate and business-school programs.
The American Bar Association, which requires accredited schools to consider LSAT scores or those of another “valid and reliable” test when making admissions decisions, says it plans to independently determine whether the GRE meets that requirement.
“This isn’t an effort to declare war on anybody,” said Marc Miller, the dean of Arizona Law in Tucson. “This is an effort to fundamentally change legal education and the legal profession.”
Mr. Miller said using the GRE would diversify the law-school pipeline by capturing those with broader interests and backgrounds, including students interested in joint degrees. At least five times as many people took the GRE in the latest admissions cycle as the LSAT. ...
Already, two other schools—University of Hawaii School of Law and Wake Forest University School of Law—are in the process of conducting similar validity studies. David Payne, a vice president at ETS, said the company plans to embark on a nationwide study that, if the ABA agrees with results, could open the door for widespread adoption. ...
Not everyone is on board. “This seems like such a big sea change, and I’m not clear what the goal is,” said Sarah Zearfoss, dean of admissions at University of Michigan Law School. “I think [the LSAT] is a very good test for its purpose.”
Business schools similarly changed their view of the GRE. Top business schools started using the test in 2006 as an alternative to the Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT. Today, the GRE is accepted at more than 1,200 business schools world-wide.
Prior TaxProf Blog posts: