Friday, September 09, 2016

Fewer people in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia are passing bar exams

Fewer people are taking and passing, the bar exam in some states. Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia showed sharp decreases in the number of people passing exams in July, according to A shortage of rural lawyers has plagued some states, and the statistics give a good example of that phenomenon in those four states.

This year 53 people in Kansas took the bar exam, with 42 passing. That's down from 109 taking the 2015 exam and 83 passing and a big drop from 2012 when 225 of the 262 people that took the exam passed.

Oklahoma has a similar trend, with 299 people taking the test this year, 203 of them passing, That's down from 210 of 307 passing in 2014 and 323 of 399 passing in 2012.

Arkansas, which did not report the number of people taking the test the past two years, had 132 pass this year, down from 143 in 2015. In 2012 Arkansas had 185 people pass the test.

In West Virginia, 107 of 151 passed this year, down from 122 of 177 in 2015 and 167 of 220 in 2012. ( graphic)
Oklahoma, which in 2015 had its lowest pass rate—68.4 percent—in more than a decade, saw that number decline to 67.9 percent this year. The pass rate was 76 percent in 2014 and 80 percent or higher from 2005-13, Arianna Pickard reported in April for Tulsa Business & Legal News.

This year the state threw out a "scoring model some believe may have failed prospective lawyers whose performance on the test should have allowed them to pass," Pickard writes. "The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled March 7 to vacate a scoring model that scaled scores on the essay portion—graded by Oklahoma lawyers—based on results from the multiple-choice section, which is standard across multiple states."

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