Paul L. Caron

Saturday, November 16, 2019

July 2019 California Bar Exam Pass Rate Increases 9 Percentage Points (7 For CA ABA-Accredited Law Schools)

California State Bar (2019)The California State Bar has released the results from the July 2019 bar exam. The overall pass rate was 50.1%, up 9.4 percentage points from last year and the first time in six years that more than half of test-takers passed the July exam.  For California ABA-accredited law schools, the pass rate for first time test-takers was 71%, up 7 percentage points from 2018. The mean scaled MBE scored was 1428, up 24 from last year and up 17 from this year's national average of 1411.

State Bar of California Releases July 2019 Bar Exam Results:

Today the State Bar of California released the results of the July 2019 California Bar Exam, and announced that 3,886 people (50.1 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam, a rebound to the 2017 pass rate.

The State Bar also released two reports on the results: the first, an analysis by the State Bar’s psychometrician, the Research Solutions Group (RSG), concluded that “[t]he results of the … analyses indicated that the premature release of the content had no statistically significant impact on the results of the July 2019 examination.”

In light of the special circumstances for the administration of this bar exam, the State Bar engaged a second firm, ACS Ventures, national experts in assessment and psychometric analysis, to review the analysis performed by RSG. Their report confirmed that the methods and procedures for scoring, scaling, and equating the bar exam were consistent with industry expectations and historical practice and confirmed  the validity of the methods used in the initial psychometric analysis.  ACS Ventures’ report concluded that  “the empirical evidence suggests that the early release of topics did not have a material impact on performance on the July 2019 California Bar Exam.”

FAQs: July 2019 California Bar Examination Early Topics Release

The July 2019 pass rate rebound in California mirrors a national upward trend in scores:

  • Florida and New Jersey each reported pass rate increases of 7 percentage points.
  • Texas reported a pass rate increase of 4.6 percentage points.
  • The National Conference of Bar Examiners reported that the pass rate for the Multistate Bar Examination increased 1.6 percentage points nationwide, marking the largest annual increase in over 10 years.
  • According to data from the Law School Admission Council, national LSAT data for likely July 2019 test takers from ABA law schools also showed a significant increase from the prior year, particularly at the high end of score range.

The Recorder, Slim Majority of Test Takers Passed California’s July Bar Exam:

Though still low in comparison to the success rate in other states, California’s passing rate marked the best showing on a July exam since July 2013. Alumni of American Bar Association-approved schools located outside California posted the best pass rate, 73%. Seventy-one percent of applicants from ABA-approved schools in California passed.

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