Paul L. Caron

Friday, October 2, 2020

California Supreme Court Rejects Deans' Request To Make Oct. 5-6 Online Bar Exam Open Book With No Proctoring

Following up on my previous post, California Law School Deans Request Supreme Court To Make Oct. 5-6 Online Bar Exam Open Book With No Proctoring:

California Bar ExamLetter From California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to California Law School Deans (Oct. 1, 2020):

Dear Deans,
Thank you for your September 14, 2020 letter suggesting that the October California Bar Examination be administered as an open book exam and without the use of remote proctoring software. The court appreciates your concerns about the software being used to administer the exam.

As the attached letter, from the State Bar explains, the proctoring software will not determine any examinee’s identity, integrity, eligibility, or passing grade, nor will the software be used to prevent any applicant from completing their exam. Instead, multiple layers of human review of the exam videos will permit human proctors to make those determinations.

In addition, to alleviate any privacy concerns involving the use of the proctoring software, the court has just recently expressed agreement with the State Bar’s decision to exercise its contractual authority to request that ExamSoft, and its third-party providers, destroy all of the personally identifiable information collected by the proctoring software. (See attached.) The court has also directed the State Bar to provide a timetable to outline the process of how this deletion will take place.

Lastly, concerning the request to allow an open book administration of the exam, none of the jurisdictions administering the online exam next week have switched to an open book format. In addition, administering the exam “without limits on what materials the student may consult during the exam” would violate the National Committee of Bar Examiners (NCBE) policy concerning the Multistate Bar Examination that will be administered on October 6. To date, the NCBE has not changed that policy.

The court thanks you and your colleagues for your letter and is looking forward to your continued participation in this challenging planning process.

The Recorder, California Supreme Court Rebuffs Calls to Make Bar Exam Open Book

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


It appears that the Chief Justice has failed to conduct a basic fact check on her justification for this decision. The Chief Justice states, "none of the jurisdictions administering the online exam next week have switched to an open book format;" however, a simple Google search would reveal that statement to be patently false. The state of Georgia, which is administering its Bar exam on October 5 and 6, the same dates as California, has opted for an open note format for its essay exam.

Posted by: Jay | Oct 2, 2020 9:35:09 AM