Saturday, April 20, 2019
Bar results are rolling in, and nearly everyone starts wondering about the national MBE numbers. Some schools in states like Texas and California want the numbers to try to predict what pass rates will be in their jurisdictions. Other states, like Oklahoma, are more interested in understanding their pass rates. The vast majority of us want the information to also understand what is happening on the MBE. This will not be my "NCBE is an out of touch, opaque, etc." post, at least not entirely. I am merely passing along information from February. You can find the NCBE's official announcement here.
In case you don't want to go to the NCBE site, the February mean score was 134. The good news is the mean is up 1.2 points from last year, and for Oklahoma, that led to increased pass rates. However, 134 is still 2.2 points lower than February 2015. For more context, Oklahoma sets the MBE passing score at 135. Oklahoma does combine essays and MBE scores, but we don't scale essays to the MBE. 135 is what Oklahoma determined was the equivalent to passing an essay. Thus, over 10,658 takers did not score above Oklahoma's MBE passing score. Each of those takers would need above passing essays scores to pass the entire exam. UBE states with 270 cut scores are in the same situation, and the lowest UBE cut scores of 260 would still have significant numbers of takers below 130.
Numerous factors obviously impact the national mean. Many others will continue the debate on whether the MBE is a "minimum competency" exam. The February results are another data point in that analysis.