May 25, 2011
ABA knows or should know that the LSAT is inherently discriminatory to the blind or visually impaired
The ABA is being sued claiming that the LSAT discriminates against the blind and visually impaired. The suit may become a moot point if the draft accredidation standards removes admission testing as a pre-condition for student enrollment. The ABA likely will respond that Interpretation 503-1, below, allows for the use of LSAT alternatives but the reality is that the LSAT is the de facto norm for pre-admission testing.
In the WJS Law Blog's Federal Suit Claims LSAT Discriminatory, Nathan Koppel reports
The alleged problem, according to the suit, is that one-fourth of the test involves “analytical rezoning” questions that require diagramming to answer correctly. Here’s an example of one of the objectionable questions, according to the suit:
“A company employee generates a series of five-digit product codes in accordance with the following rules: The codes use the digits 0,1,2,3 and 4 . . .Each digit occurs exactly once in any code; the second digit has a value exactly twice that of the first digit; the value of the third digit is less than the value of the fifth digit.”
Test takers are then invited to answer a series of questions about the proper sequencing of the product codes. “A blind or visually impaired applicant is unable to conceive of spatial relationships or diagram answers in the same manner as their sighted peers,” according to the complaint, which can be found here.
2010-2011 ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools
Standard 503. ADMISSION TEST
A law school shall require each applicant for admission as a first year J.D. student to take a valid and reliable admission test to assist the school and the applicant in assessing the applicant’s capability of satisfactorily completing the school’s educational program. In making admissions decisions, a law school shall use the test results in a manner that is consistent with the current guidelines regarding proper use of the test results provided by the agency that developed the test.
A law school that uses an admission test other than the Law School Admission Test sponsored by the Law School Admission Council shall establish that such other test is a valid and reliable test to assist the school in assessing an applicant’s capability to satisfactorily complete the school’s educational program.