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Law Student Test Scores could be Audited
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Dan Bernstine, the president of the Law School Admission Council, says that his organization might have to police the Law School Admission Test scores and GPA’s that law schools submit to the American Bar Association each year. This news comes on the heels of scandals where law schools have been inflating the GPA’s and test scores of law students when submitting the information to the American Bar Association.

“We are working to determine whether we can set up procedures through which we would be able to confirm school-reported LSAT scores and [undergraduate GPAs] in a reliable and responsible way,” Bernstine said. “Unfortunately, this is going to take some time. That’s just not something we have done historically, and I don’t see why we would,” Bernstine said. “We’re not in the reporting business. We don’t distinguish between our members.”

  
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The council is not planning on investigating the GPA’s or test scores of this year’s incoming law school classes, since that information is due by the end of October, but will consider beginning the process with next year’s class.

“I think this pressure is coming from the admissions offices,” said Kyle McEntee, a co-founder of Tennessee nonprofit organization Law School Transparency. “I’ve spoken with people at a number of admissions offices and they are concerned about all the misreporting. I get the sense that they’ve been feeling helpless, so this is a good thing.”

Bernstine went on to discuss the following in his October 11 statement about the investigation:

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“If we provided some sort of auditing statement, it would confirm only that the school’s reported numbers are accurate for the students the school tells us are at the school,” Bernstine said. “We are concerned, first, that this would not be a useful confirmation and, second, that people might misinterpret it to mean more than it really does.”

If the council was to audit the grades of incoming legal students, U.S. News would welcome the investigation, said director of data research for the magazine Bob Morse:



“US News as a data user and publisher would strongly be in favor of such a plan as one swift way to restore law school integrity in this area,” Morse said. “Since the LSAC has the power and the data to do this, it could bring instant and definitely needed credibility to LSATs and GPAs reported by schools — the two most visible and important admission data points that have been the subject of painful disclosures in both the Villanova and [University of Illinois] cases in 2011.”

The reason that some schools across the country would file misleading test and GPA scores is that those stats weigh heavily on the ranking given to the schools by the U.S. News and World Report rankings for law schools each year in the country.



 

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