Bar Examinations and High-Stakes Assessments

Title

Yes We Can, Pass the Bar. University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law Bar Passage Initiatives and Bar Pass Rates—From the Titanic to the Queen Mary!

Document Type

Law Review Article

Publication Date

1-2011

Keywords

bar-examination, bar-passage, bar-preparation, assessment

Abstract

"This study provides an empirical analysis of the School of Law's bar passage data. Many law schools have created bar support programs—in addition to academic support programs—to improve their bar passage rates. Few studies, however, have assessed their program's using a statistical analysis." One recent study of the University of Richmond's bar support program found that its bar program had improved the University of Richmond's bar passage rate and the increase in passage was statistically significant. The study also found that the program had a dramatic improvement for those students who were in the bottom half of the graduating class. The study found an 8.5% improvement in the bar passage rate for students as a whole after the bar program was implemented.

"The Richmond study provides the empirical model for our review, although some of the programmatic aspects are different. The UDC-DCSL study of the improvement in bar passage rates is the first to use a logistical regression analysis for all variables. Like the Richmond study, our results reveal that our bar support programs have had a statistically significant impact on bar passage programs. For the entire study period, there was a 14.7% difference between bar passage rates on the first attempt (first time takers) for those who participated in the bar review class versus those who did not participate.

"The results of the logistical regression analysis indicate that law schools' bar preparation programs can contribute significantly to improvement in the overall bar passage rate. This paper describes the steps taken at UDC-DCSL to improve its bar passage rate and provides an analysis of the factors which have proven to be effective in reaching that goal." (11–12)

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