The effect of item sequence on bar examination scores

by Stephen P. Klein, Roger E. Bolus

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This study investigated the degree to which scores on a test of certain legal research skills correlated with scores on the essay and multiple choice portions of a state's bar exam and with various background characteristics, including racial/ethnic group. Results indicated the Research Test reliably measured skills that were only partially correlated with those assessed by the regular bar exam. Research Test scores were more highly related to indexes of the ability to practice law than the traditional measures of lawyering skill. As a result of these findings, the bar exam now includes a Research Test.

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