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American News May 6, 2022 4:53 PM EST

American Bar Association recommends dropping law school admission tests

"Among other changes, the SRC is recommending the elimination of the requirement that law schools use a valid and reliable admission test," the committee wrote.

American Bar Association recommends dropping law school admission tests
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The American Bar Association (ABA) has formally recommended that their council remove the requirement for "valid and reliable" admission tests for law school.

In a letter to the council from the ABA's Strategic Review Committee, they wrote that requirement had first come into question in 2018, but the resolution was withdrawn at the House of Delegates meeting.

Since then, the Council had garnered feedback in regards to the admission test requirements, and in October of 2021, published their findings which led to the the GRE being accepted for admission into law schools alongside LSAT testing.

The Strategic Review Committee has undertaken a review of Standards 501 and 503, which reference admissions testing requirements.

"Among other changes, the SRC is recommending the elimination of the requirement that law schools use a valid and reliable admission test, although law schools of course remain free to require a test if they wish," the committee wrote.

In regards to Standard 503, "The recommended revisions to Standard 503 eliminate the requirement of a 'valid and reliable' admission test for individuals seeking admission as first-year J.D. degree students, thereby making the use of an admission test by law schools optional."

The letter states that while a law school may still choose to require admission testing, "the revisions require a law school to identify all tests that it accepts in its admissions policies so that applicants to the law school know which admission tests are accepted."

"Eliminating the requirement of a 'valid and reliable' admission test also eliminates some of the challenges inherent in determining which tests are in fact valid and reliable for law school admissions, although of course law schools must still show that their use of an admission test, should they choose to require one, is consistent with sound admission practices and procedures," the letter states.

The revisions eliminate most of Standard 503, with it now only saying: "A law school may use admission tests as part of sound admission practices and policies. The law school shall identify in its admission policies any tests it accepts."

Previously, the standard had stated that "a law school shall require each applicant for admission as a first-year J.D. degree student to take a valid and reliable admission test to assist the school and the applicant in assessing the applicant's capability of satisfactorily completing the school’s program of legal education."

The letter also includes a new interpretation of Standard 501, saying "Sound admissions policies and practices may include consideration of admission test scores, undergraduate course of study and grade point average, extracurricular activities, work experience, performance in other graduate or professional programs, relevant demonstrated skills, and obstacles overcome."

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