Paul L. Caron

Saturday, November 4, 2017

ABA Council Clears The Way For All Law Schools To Admit Students Based On The GRE (Or To Ignore Admissions Tests Entirely)

GRELSATFollowing up on Wednesday's post, ETS Releases Study Establishing Validity Of GRE In Predicting Law School Success, Using Data On 1L Grades From 21 Law Schools:, GRE or LSAT? ABA Council’s Latest Move Could Nix Tests Altogether:

Future law school applicants could avoid taking the Law School Admissions Test — or any other admissions test, for that matter — if a proposal by the nation’s law school accrediting body passes. The key word, however, is “if.”

After 90 minutes of discussion on Friday afternoon and a split vote, the council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar approved a recommendation from one of its committees to delete an accreditation standard that requires law schools to test students using a “valid and reliable” admissions test.

If the proposal passes, technically, law schools wouldn’t have to test applicants at all, but they would still need to follow sound admissions practices, which likely would include the LSAT or Graduate Records Examination, since a different accreditation standard would still require schools to make sure that applicants appeared capable of graduating and passing the bar. And to determine if schools were living up to that, the legal education council still would look at admissions test data.

The biggest change would be that schools themselves would decide which test to use, without the burden of judging whether it was “valid and reliable.” ...

Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admissions Council, which administers the LSAT, said she’s disappointed in the council’s decision because it weakens law school admission standards and “essentially creates a free-for-all that will be confusing and unfair for potential applicants,” she said. “We are concerned that today’s outcome will open the door to exploitation in admissions,” Testy said.

Daniel Rodriguez, dean at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and a proponent of alternative admissions tests, called the council’s move “a good example of an idea whose time has come.” He added, “I applaud the standards review committee for thinking creatively about appropriate regulation.”

LSAC Response:

LSAC is disappointed with this outcome and the message it sends to the academy, law students, practitioners, and the public about weakening law school admission standards. Allowing every law school to determine what makes a test “valid and reliable” for itself, or whether or not it will even require an admission test, essentially creates a free-for-all that will be confusing and unfair for potential applicants. LSAC supports all efforts to recruit potential law students, but the LSAT was created 70 years ago expressly to level the playing field for all applicants. That is why we are concerned that today’s outcome will open the door to exploitation in admissions. We look forward to working with our member schools to assure quality and fairness in law school admission. LSAC will participate in the Notice and Comment period for this decision.

New York Times, On Trial: GRE v. LSAT

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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