Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Bad Math Bar Sauce And The ABA As A Shill For The NCBE
Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn) & Kevin Ruth (PhD Mathematics, Miami), Bad Math Bar Sauce and the ABA as a Shill for the NCBE, 66 How. L.J. __ (2023):
Recent scholarship purporting to employ sophisticated mathematics to decipher the pedagogies which improve institutional bar examination performance and to identify which schools over and underperform on the bar examination has been widely accepted. Despite this wide acceptance the scholarship is largely erroneous. Law reviews are incapable of discerning the errors in the scholarship when authors do not comport with scientific publication norms which require publishers to “show their work,” and produce supporting data so that the study may be replicated and peer reviewed. Additionally, the authors of these studies make fundamental mathematical errors impeaching the validity of their conclusions. For example, the authors confuse odds ratios with probability and use linear regression for data that is unsuitable for linear regression.
Despite these fundamental errors and the impossibility of accurately measuring institutional bar performance and over and underperformance on the bar examination, the legal academy relies on these studies to alter their pedagogy and the ABA continues to rely on these studies and the NCBE’s bar examination for accreditation decisions and to measure institutional bar performance. Systemic racism creates a false normativity for the legal academy and ABA’s reliance on studies and assumptions about bar performance that are inaccurate and unsupported. If we are to truly reform legal education and facilitate law’s transition from the least diverse profession in the United States to a more inclusive and less racist field, then we must reexamine the incorrect but comfortable, established, exclusionary, yet wholly erroneous and unsupportable assumptions about the continued role of the NCBE and the bar examination in legal education.