Ed. note: Welcome to our daily feature, Quote of the Day.
[W]e believe that an increase in the number of likely repeat examinees compared to February 2022 is a partial reason for the decrease in the average score this year.
We saw a decrease in performance across all groups of examinees, and the decrease was the greatest (about two scaled score points) for likely first-time test takers. Research in K-12 and undergraduate settings clearly shows that the global COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on learning, and surveys of law students similarly suggest that those students who began law school in 2019–2020 would have been significantly impacted by pandemic-related educational disruptions.
— NCBE Director of Assessment and Research Rosemary Reshetar, EdD, in comments given on the poor showing for the February 2023 bar exam results. The national average score on the Multistate Bar Exam was 131.1, a decrease of 1.5 points from the previous year, representing an all-time low. A large number of February’s first-time takers were in their first year of law school when the pandemic shut down schools across the country. As noted by Reshetar, those who sat for the bar exam for the first time in February “likely either delayed taking the bar exam during the July following graduation or have graduated a semester early.”
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.