Paul L. Caron

Friday, May 3, 2024

The New LSAT Is Bad For America

Tim Rosenberger (Manhattan Institute), The New LSAT Is Bad for America:

Manhattan Institute (2024)The LSAT has blown up one of America’s last great social escalators. For generations, eager young minds have crammed over LSAT prep books, learning the unique complexities of the exam and preparing themselves for the rigors of law school. Foremost among the test’s unique attributes was the infamous logic games section, which differentiated the LSAT from the general mathematical and reading comprehension assessments found in other graduate tests.

These games, far from posing an arcane roadblock for aspiring lawyers, served as the essential attribute of a test that predicted, with surprising accuracy, student success in law school. It tested not just raw aptitude, but also tenacity, as logic games are eminently learnable. ... Perhaps a high score on the LSAT predicts success in law school because it is as much a reflection of effort as it is a reflection of raw intellectual power.

While the test is uniquely powerful, it has been under assault for more than a decade.

America’s preeminent law schools now also accept the GRE. Other law schools are now test optional. Schools looking to evade recent Supreme Court decisions curbing race-based affirmative action are turning to secretive, black-box, admissions processes where a class can be curated to meet the whims of administrators rather than to reflect the merit of the applicant pool.

The LSAT, in response to this assault, used the pretext of litigation with blind test takers, who claimed the logic games unfairly disadvantaged them, to drop the section. The new LSAT seems to be an undifferentiated general graduate test, and one on which many students will perform strongly with minimal effort. ...

This weak sauce LSAT poses a disservice to the academy, to the profession, and to our very nation. ... The LSAT must find a way to ensure that rigor is maintained, or even enhanced, in future administrations of its test. While it must find a way to fairly accommodate those with disabilities, it should not abandon logic games, but instead should celebrate the important role that they have played in maintaining quality across generations of America’s legal profession.

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