National Conference of Bar Examiners, NCBE to Provide Additional Support for Jurisdictions During COVID-19 Crisis:
NCBE will provide a limited set of questions (MBE, MEE, MPT) to jurisdictions for an emergency remote testing option for local admission during the COVID-19 crisis. The materials will be offered for a remote administration on October 5–6, after all three administrations of the bar exam/Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) have occurred, and will provide jurisdictions an emergency option should administering the in-person bar exam not be possible.
This remote testing option will not constitute the full bar exam or the UBE. Scores earned on the remotely administered test will be used for local admission decisions only, and will not qualify as UBE scores. The scores will not be eligible to be transferred as UBE or MBE scores to other jurisdictions or released to candidates via NCBE Score Services.
The emergency remote option follows steps we have previously taken to support our stakeholders in light of the COVID-19 crisis. In early April, we announced we would provide materials for two additional fall administrations of the bar exam/UBE (September 9–10 and September 30–October 1) in addition to the July 28–29 exam.
Nearly all jurisdictions are planning to hold the in-person bar exam this year on one of these scheduled administrations, while making provisions for social distancing and other safety measures. (For information about jurisdiction announcements, visit our July 2020 Bar Exam: Jurisdiction Information page.)
In providing the remote testing option, NCBE is responding proactively to the continuing uncertainty the upcoming months will bring, and the possibility that local or state health and safety restrictions will prohibit in-person testing.
“NCBE understands the enormous challenges facing recent law graduates during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the uncertainty over whether they will be able to sit for the bar exam, which is why we have taken additional steps to facilitate licensure in 2020,” said NCBE president and CEO Judith Gundersen.
“NCBE continues to strongly advocate that a full-length, standard, in-person administration of the bar exam/UBE is best for a number of reasons, including psychometric issues, exam security, and the testing environment of candidates, who may not have access to comparable testing conditions or equipment. We recognize, however, that these are extraordinary times. It is worth noting that many other high-stakes professional licensing exams, such as those for the medical, health care, engineering, and public accounting professions, are to the best of our knowledge still being held in person or are being postponed until they can be held in person,” Gundersen concluded.
Each jurisdiction will have flexibility in deciding which of the abbreviated test materials to use. While the materials’ subject matter coverage will follow NCBE’s subject matter outlines for the three tests, less content will be covered in shorter testing sessions.
Jurisdictions that must use the remote testing option will have candidates using their own computers in their own testing environments and may choose from among the three technology vendors that already assist jurisdictions with in-person bar exam administration. Each jurisdiction (and its candidates) will deal directly with the jurisdiction’s chosen vendor regarding registration and administration, just as they do currently when laptops are used during the bar exam. NCBE’s role will be to make the test materials available to the vendor designated by each jurisdiction and establish the testing dates and start times for each set of materials.
Jurisdictions will be responsible for scoring the tests and interpreting candidate performance. NCBE will not equate the MBE portion or scale scores from the written portion of the test to the standardized MBE portion as we would do for the standard, full-length bar exam. Without further research, scores from an abbreviated version of the MBE administered by remote testing cannot be considered comparable to the standard, paper-based, full-length MBE administration, such comparability being an essential requirement for equating and scaling.
TaxProf Blog coverage of the July 2020 bar exam:
- The Bar Exam And The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need For Immediate Action (Mar. 14, 2020)
- NCBE To Decide By May 5 Whether It Will Provide MBE For July Bar Examinations (Mar. 27, 2020)
- New York Postpones July Bar Exam To Fall; Students Demand Emergency Diploma Privilege To Practice Law (Mar. 28, 2020)
- Massachusetts Joins New York In Postponing July Bar Exam (Mar. 30, 2020)
- Connecticut Is Third State To Postpone July Bar Exam (Mar. 31, 2020)
- Hawaii Is Fourth State To Postpone July Bar Exam (Apr. 2, 2020)
- New Jersey Is Fifth State To Postpone July Bar Exam, First To Offer 2020 Law Grads Temporary License To Practice (Apr. 7, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: ABA, Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee, Vermont (Apr. 8, 2020)
- Indiana Allows 2020 Law Grads To Serve As Graduate Legal Interns And Take February 2021 Bar Exam (Apr. 9, 2020)
- Utah To Let Grads Skip Bar Exam Due To COVID-19, But Only From Schools With 86%+ Bar Pass Rate; Grads Of Just 4 Of California's 21 Law Schools Would Qualify (Apr. 11, 2020)
- Licensing Lawyers In A Pandemic: Proving Competence (Apr. 12, 2020)
- Even In Time Of Crisis, Hold Fast To Bar Exam (Apr. 13, 2020)
- Bar Exam Federalism During The COVID-19 Pandemic (Apr. 14, 2020)
- State Bar Tells California Supreme Court: Delay Or Cancel July Bar Exam (Apr. 15, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Maine, Rhode Island (Apr. 16, 2020)
- Letter From California State Bar To California Supreme Court On July Bar Exam (Apr. 17, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Georgia, Tennessee, Virgin Islands (Apr. 18, 2020)
- Letter From California Deans To California Supreme Court On July Bar Exam (Apr. 18, 2020)
- More Law Prof Commentary On Utah's Bar Diploma Privilege Proposal (Apr. 20, 2020)
- NCBE Opposes States Granting Diploma Privileges To 2020 Law Grads Due To COVID-19 (Apr. 20, 2020)
- Horwitz: Law Graduates' Needs, Client Needs, And The Bar Exam (Apr. 20, 2020)
- WSJ: Law Students In ‘No Man’s Land’ As Coronavirus Delays Bar Exams (Apr. 20, 2020)
- Utah Supreme Court Issues Final Order Letting Grads Of Law Schools With Average 86+% Bar Pass Rate Skip Utah Bar Exam Due To COVID-19 (Apr. 22, 2020)
- Courts Should Look To Three Bar Exam Alternatives During Crisis (Apr. 24, 2020)
- July 2020 Bar Exam Status By Jurisdiction (Apr. 26, 2020)
- California Supreme Court Orders July Bar Exam Delayed To Sept. 9-10, Administered Online (Apr. 28, 2020)
- Texas Moves Forward With July Bar Exam, Adds September Option And Expands Practice With Supervision Program (Apr. 30, 2020)
- New York Will Give Priority To Graduates From New York's 15 Law Schools For Limited Spots To Take September Bar Exam (May 1, 2020)
- Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam (May 3, 2020)
- July 2020 Bar Exam Status By Jurisdiction (May 3, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri (May 4, 2020)
- Dean Amar: New York's Discrimination Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools Is Unconstitutional — 'Whether It’s Toilet Paper Or Bar Exam Seats, Hoarding Is Wrong' (May 4, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: DC, Maine, Massachusetts (May 5, 2020)
- CLEA Statement On The July 2020 Bar Examination (May 6, 2020)
- 54 More Deans Ask New York To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam (May 7, 2020)
- New York Should Replace Discriminatory Bar Exam Plan With Emergency Licensure Open To All Law School Graduates (May 7, 2020)
- Florida To Proceed With July Bar Exam With Temperature Checks, Social Distancing, Masks, And 14-Day Quarantines For Out-Of-State Applicants (May 8, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota (May 10, 2020)
- July 2020 Bar Exam Status By Jurisdiction (May 10, 2020)
- 57 Deans Ask Massachusetts To Not Discriminate Against Graduates Of Out-Of-State Law Schools In Sitting For September Bar Exam (May 11, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington (May 15, 2020)
- July 2020 Bar Exam Status By Jurisdiction (May 17, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada (May 22, 2020)
- The NCBE's Wrong-Headed Response To The COVID-19 Pandemic (May 27, 2020)
- First-Ever Open Book, Online Bar Exam Set For July (May 27, 2020)
- July Bar Exam Update: Maryland (May 29, 2020)
- Mississippi Requires Applicants Sitting For In-Person July Bar Exam To Sign Liability Waiver For COVID-19 Exposure (June 2, 2020)
For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.