Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 7, 2017

Northwestern Is Third Law School To Accept GRE For Admissions, Finds It Is Just As Accurate As LSAT In Predicting 1L Grades

GRELSATNational Law Journal, Northwestern Is Latest Law School to Accept GRE for Admissions:

A third law school has joined the GRE party, and it’s another big name.

The Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is set to announce Monday that it will start accepting scores from the GRE in addition to the LSAT, starting with the fall 2019 admissions cycle. It joins the Ivy League’s Harvard Law School as an early adopter of the GRE, as well as the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, is used in admissions for nearly all graduate programs outside of law, medicine and business. ...

The ABA has long required law schools to use a “valid and reliable” test in admissions, with the LSAT being the default choice. But the ABA’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar is currently contemplating a new rule under which it would decide which standardized tests are allowed. By setting out criteria and studying LSAT alternatives itself, the ABA could either open the door for all law schools to use the GRE, or it could bar them from using the GRE altogether. Several legal academics, Rodriguez among them, have written to the ABA in opposition of the proposed rule change, for fear that it would stifle the ability of law schools to experiment with LSAT alternatives.

“A number of us saw that as a warning shot across the bow from the ABA about the use of the GRE,” Rodriguez said of the proposed rule change.

By delaying the acceptance of the GRE until the 2019 admissions cycle, which kicks off a year from now, Northwestern will give the ABA a chance to decide whether or not the GRE is acceptable, Rodriguez said. However, Northwestern could accelerate that plan should the ABA decide to permit the GRE in the near future, he added.

The school’s own research found that the GRE is just as effective as the LSAT in predicting first-year law school grades. Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE, gathered test scores from Northwestern law students who had taken both exams, then analyzed their grades.

“The evidence was powerful and overwhelming,” Rodriguez said. “It basically said the GRE is as good a predictor as the LSAT. It predicted with remarkable accuracy the correlation between the GRE and first-year grades.”

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

Legal Education | Permalink


I wonder how many law schools will need to do this before the ABA starts requiring law schools to report these numbers, and, when the number of applicants become statistically significant. At the margins, the GRE applicants are a great tool for law schools to game the LSAT rankings. Law schools can artificially inflate their 25th, 50th,and 75h percentiles with GRE applicants, which works well when accepting a few additional LSAT applicants that would lower those stats.

Posted by: Beau Baez | Aug 8, 2017 8:04:51 AM

Absolutely love it when a monopoly faces competition!

Posted by: Tom N | Aug 7, 2017 8:30:03 PM