Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

ABA Gives Puerto Rico Law Schools 3 Additional Years To Meet 75% Bar Pass Standard; Supreme Court Lowers Bar Exam Cut Score To Help Schools Keep Accreditation

ABA Journal, 2 of Puerto Rico's 3 Law Schools Will Get More Time to Meet Bar Pass Standard:

ABA Legal Ed (2021)Following repeated failures to show compliance with Standard 316, which requires a bar passage rate of at least 75% within two years, the ABA has given an extension of up to three years to Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law and Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law. ...

At Inter American, the pass rate was 60% for 2019 graduates, 55.43% for 2018 graduates, and 64.49% for 2017 graduates, according to ABA data.

For Pontifical, the pass rate was 45.53% for 2019 graduates, 52.08% for 2018 graduates and 70.87% for 2017 graduates, according to ABA data.

Derek Muller (Iowa;), Puerto Rico Lowers Its Bar Exam Cut Score in Response to Threats That Its Law Schools May Lose Accreditation:

Puerto Rico does not use the UBE or a standardized bar exam score, so their passing score of “596 out of 1000 points” doesn’t offer a whole lot of information. But the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico did choose to lower the cut score to 569. ...

A standard-setting study for the cut score had two rounds of standard-setting. One recommended a score of 584 (with a range of 574 to 594), and the other 575 (with a range of 569 to 581). The Supreme Court took the lowest of these ranges, 569. That said, the pass rate would still be at 46.4% even with that score, better than the rate of closer to 33% under the present standard. ...

The ABA has given Puerto Rican law schools an extra three years to try to comply. The lower cut score will make it easier to do so, although it remains unclear that even with this cut score all schools will be able to meet the standard.

But it also shows the rarity of the ABA of actually enforcing this standard, except for continuing to give schools more time to demonstrate compliance. We’ll see what happens in the next three years.

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