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Op-Ed: In Defense of the LSAT

Op-Ed: In Defense of the LSAT

“For years, LSAT scores have made up half of the admission criteria for virtually every law school in the United States.”

Schools are dropping standardized tests because of the same ‘equity’ craze that’s gripping so many othr areas in education.

Clayton Kozinski writes at Newsweek:

In Defense of the LSAT

Standardized aptitude tests have once again come under fire, as last Friday the American Bar Association (ABA) took another step toward eliminating the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). LSAT antagonists claim they oppose the test because it is not an objective measure of aptitude. The truth is, they resist it for the exact opposite reason. They are not anti-LSAT so much as they are anti-objectivity. They would prefer to scrub all objective measures of aptitude from the law school application process so they can continue to balance school rosters according to their social and political preferences.

For years, LSAT scores have made up half of the admission criteria for virtually every law school in the United States. The other half is some mishmash of GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation and whatever other subjective criteria admissions boards choose to consider. As a former neurotic law student, I can attest that the non-LSAT admissions criteria are unnervingly opaque. But the LSAT is different—it’s a single yardstick that measures every applicant, allowing applicants to easily be compared with one another.

True, nothing on the LSAT prepares someone for legal practice. But it provides a back-of-the-envelope measure of aptitude in law-adjacent skills—primarily logical reasoning and reading comprehension. And studies have consistently shown that LSAT performance is the single strongest predictor of academic success in law school.

So why oppose it?

Criticisms of the LSAT largely echo criticisms of standardized tests more generally.

Essentially, they boil down to the claim that the LSAT does not objectively measure ability because children from wealthy backgrounds can more easily afford elite prep courses and personalized tutoring.

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Comments

One of the main reasons they want to drop objective testing is that it provides evidence that the school is using racially discriminatory criteria in choosing its students. (for “equity”, of course)

    healthguyfsu in reply to OldProf2. | May 31, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    And it keeps otherwise unqualified and unemployable people out of the pool.

    The LSAT today..the bar exam tomorrow!

Albigensian | May 30, 2022 at 5:51 pm

“LSAT does not objectively measure ability because children from wealthy backgrounds can more easily afford elite prep courses and personalized tutoring.”

You’d think this would be a testable proposition: do costly prep courses work better than an inexpensive prep book?

I suppose the book might require more motivation, but, if it does, is that really a drawback?

ahad haamoratsim | May 31, 2022 at 6:18 am

The truly wealthy can also afford private tutors in every subject. So what?
Next target: bar exams.

Why stop there? Medical Board Certification? Driver’s Licenses?

    Temujin in reply to Sultan. | May 31, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Or … why require ANY criteria to practice law … or medicine … or anything else, for that matter? Shouldn’t anyone, including illegal aliens, be permitted to hang up their shingle … any shingle ???

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