California Bar Examiners Stripped Of Authority To Determine Passing Score On State Bar Exam

Staci Zaretsky:

As thoroughly reported here at Above the Law, bar exam passage rates have plummeted across the nation for the past several years. In California in particular, test-takers’ performance has been outstandingly poor, prompting a chorus of critics to demand that the state’s cut score be lowered so that more law school graduates will be able to pass the exam and become practicing attorneys. As it stands, California’s required passing score of 144 is higher than that of 48 other states, with only Delaware’s cut score being higher. For decades, California’s bar exam has been referred to as the hardest in the country, but year in and year out, data has revealed that to be untrue. With the state’s mean scaled MBE scores continuing to be higher than the national average, it seems that California’s bar exam is simply the most difficult to pass thanks to its arbitrarily high cut score.