Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Amid Claims That Online Bar Exam Went Well, Some Test-Takers Have A Different View

ABA Journal, Amid Claims That Online Bar Exam Went Well, Some Test-Takers Have a Different View:

ExamSoft, the company that provided the software for the two-day online bar exam offered earlier this month, maintains that only a small percentage of test-takers experienced problems with their product. But for those who did, many say there should have been no issues and some suspect the hitches were expected by the company.

The online exam, which was composed of materials from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, took place Oct. 5 and Oct. 6. Approximately 30,000 people took the exam, and it’s believed to have been the first professional licensing exam administered remotely, according to Judith Gundersen, president of the NCBE. In an email to the ABA Journal, she said it appears that more than 98% of applicants had no software issues. ...

The five test-takers who were willing to be interviewed on the record by the Journal took the California and New York bar exams. All say they finished the test despite significant software problems. ...

According to a statement from the New York State Board of Law Examiners, 5,167 applicants downloaded the October bar exam files, and 5,154 people took the entire exam. The organization claims the October attrition rate is similar to what is usually is for in-person exams. A “small number” of New York applicants experienced technical issues during one or more of the sessions, according to the statement.

Other New York examinees had problems creating and uploading the proctoring videos, which were required to complete the exam. ...

On Friday, two New York lawmakers who support diploma privilege released a “snapshot survey” of 500 New York bar applicants, 41.1% of whom reported internet or software problems during the exam, according to a news release. The bar exam experience was described as negative by 74.7% of test-takers; only 8% found it positive.

When asked for a response, ExamSoft again asserted that there were few test-takers with software issues. “While this survey represents a small number of concerned exam-takers, we are all learning to be more flexible and to rely on technology to continue our lives, work and education as effectively as possible,” Sandberg wrote in an email.

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