The State Bar of California has submitted its report to the California Supreme Court on a series of studies focused on the California Bar Exam. The studies were the first of their kind in California and help provide a more comprehensive understanding of the exam and its impact on the practice of law in the state.
“These studies reflect a watershed moment in the history of the development and analysis of California’s attorney licensing exam,” said Leah Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California. “The body of work we have undertaken over the last year has greatly increased our understanding of what we have done well and where we need to improve.”
In February 2017 the California Supreme Court mandated the agency to undertake a “thorough and expedited study” that looked into issues impacting pass rates, an analysis of such rates and the impact of changing current passing scores.
The Supreme Court has previously received one of the reports and recommendations from the State Bar from the Standard Setting Study, which resulted in an order from the Supreme Court to keep the pass rate as it is.
The State Bar’s report to the Court notes that the agency was remiss in not conducting a Standard Setting Study earlier. Going forward, the State Bar will conduct a comprehensive review of the California Bar Exam every seven years.
“The series of studies the State Bar has undertaken have also highlighted the need to thoroughly explore the relationship of the licensing exam to access to justice and public protection and the ways in which the pass line may or may not impact these important concerns,” the State Bar noted in its letter that accompanied the full report to the Court.
The three completed studies are the Standard Setting Study, the Content Study, and the Performance Changes Study. The Law School Bar Exam Performance Study has not been completed yet.
The Content Study findings indicate that there is no need for immediate changes to the Bar Exam content, because there is appropriate alignment between current exam content and a 2012 attorney job analysis conducted by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
The Performance Changes Study evaluated the historical pattern of the exam pass rates and changes in applicant characteristics.
The Law School Bar Exam Performance Study will supplement the Performance Changes study.
Source: The State Bar of California / calbar.ca.gov