How did remote administration affect the July 2021 bar exam?

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How did remote administration affect the July 2021 bar exam?

Post by Stranger » Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:58 pm

So, I got bored and looked up some numbers. The short answer is, it doesn't seem to have changed things all that much. The movement we've seen in scores in states with remote bar exams really doesn't look that different from the movement in states with in-person bar exams this year, by comparison to July 2019 (obviously July 2020 is an inappropriate data point for comparison).

To whit (numbers in parentheses are this year's results, numbers in brackets are 2019's results):

In-Person:
Alabama (52.6%) [61%] -8.4%
Arkansas (70%) [60%] +10%
Hawaii (70.2%) [62%] +8.2%
Idaho (67%) [65%] +2%
Missouri (75.5%) [78%] -2.5%
Montana (74%) [81%] -7%
Nebraska (72%) [79%] -7%
New Mexico (71%) [72%] -1%
North Dakota (65%) [73%] -8%
Oklahoma (73%) [77%] -4%
Oregon (79%) [75%] +4%
South Dakota (73%) [80%] -7%
West Virginia (57.5%) [67%] -9.5%
Wyoming (72%) [73%] -1%


Remote:
Arizona (65%) [66%] -1%
Colorado (74%) [72%] +2%
Connecticut (59%) [60%] -1%
Florida (61%) [62%] -1%
Illinois (67%) [71%] -4%
Indiana (69%) [65%] +4%
Iowa (71%) [80%] -9%
Maine (59%) [52%] +7%
North Carolina (75%) [73%] +2%
Utah (86%) [82%] +4%
Vermont (54%) [61%] -7%
Washington (73.8%) [68%] +5.8%
Wisconsin (63%) [64%] -1%


There seems to be about the same range of movement in scores in states that administered July 2021 in person as there is in those administering it remotely. Some went up, some went down, and the degree of movement seems to correlate more to the size of the bar exam class than to the status of the exam administration. If anything, the scores went up a little more often in the states administering it remotely, though that should be caveated to account for North Carolina and Washington reducing their passing scores. There was only one large in-person administration this year, in Texas, and we don't have those results yet, but the most any large state (say, the top 10-12 most exam takers) changed so far was the 4% drop in Illinois.

We're obviously missing NY, California, and DC, so this is a very limited data set so far, but I'd say there's no cause for panic.

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