A Blow for Standards

And it’s struck by California’s state Supreme Court, yet, which is the controlling factor in setting the passing score, the cut score, on the State’s bar exam which prospective lawyers must pass in order to practice in California.

The Court has decided to keep the cut score at its current level, which is the second highest in the US.  The State’s law school deans are in an uproar over that; they wanted the cut score significantly lowered.  They’re complaining that

many competent graduates will continue to suffer the consequences of not being able to become certified to practice….

The deans decline to explain how are “graduates” can be considered competent if they can’t pass the test that assesses their competency.

Their excuse for wanting the standard lowered is risible.

Bar-exam-passage rates for incoming lawyers have plummeted in California in recent years, in parallel with similar drops in other states….

Of course, this couldn’t be a degradation in the quality of teaching through lowered standards of expertise credentialing, or of students through lowered admission standards, or both.

Never mind that UCLA’s first-time pass rate of 82% proves that the current cut score is not too high.  Gotta lower standards, the deans say, to meet declining performance rather than requiring the hard work of elevating performance to meet standards.

Here’re a couple of thoughts: do a better job of teaching. It looks like an old jibe that those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach, is thriving in California.

Also: do a better job of selecting students for admittance. Not every snowflake who takes a notion to be a lawyer should be one.

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