Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Great and Powerful Oz .... er, BAR, Has Spoken!

Pay no attention to those Rulemakers (proctors) behind the curtain.

Information Regarding the Los Angeles Area Earthquake on
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 and the Grading of the
July 2008 California Bar Examination

The money quote: "Applicants should be assured that the Committee will take the appropriate steps necessary to ensure applicants are treated fairly, and at the same time not give one group of applicants an advantage over others."

The downside to the whole mess is that some of us will not pass solely due to the effect of the earthquake. The upside is that some of us will pass solely due to the effect of the earthquake.

Okay, another downside may be that some of us will not pass solely due to whatever the State Bar does to futz with the scores based on the perceived effect of the earthquake. And another upside may be that some of us will pass solely due to whatever the State Bar does to futz with the scores based on the perceived effect of the earthquake.

The bottom line is that whatever happens, happens. In effect, it's already happened. The wheels have already been set in motion. The train has left the station. No amount of input, pro or con, by any of us, is going to have any effect on what the State Bar eventually does. Your fate was sealed, insofar as those few minutes are concerned, as soon as your brain subconsciously processed the quake and caused your conscious mind to react accordingly.

So, rest assured that everyone whose name is not on the pass list will be pissed off, and everyone whose name is on the pass list will be happy. As usual. Another California Bar Exam bites the dust and another horror story/legend is created.

Only 103 days left. Have another beer.


Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq. said...

Far and away, the best line from the Bar's memo was, "While the Committee regrets that this incident occurred, the fact that it did was beyond its control."

Is there anyone who believe that the earthquake *could* have been in the Bar's control?

Clearly an odd statement, at best!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled ulcer.


Anonymous said...

For some bar takers, passing this Bar Exam will feel like Roger Maris 61* Homerun record.

I took the Bar Exam in Ontario, in the room that supposedly got the "0" "2" "5" or "few" extra minutes depending on on who you ask. I am almost sure everyone from that room will be penalized. If that is the case and I still pass, then I will like "WOW! I passed despite having been penalized."

Anonymous said...

''It was a good solid jolt,'' said Robert Hawley, deputy executive director of the State Bar of California. ''It unnerved the test-takers right there at that moment.''

After a scheduled two-hour break, they resumed testing in the afternoon. Still, Hawley said, expert test consultants will look at the results and determine whether the earthquake may have disrupted them.

''My guess is that ... it really didn't have a material impact,'' he said.

If the experts determine the quake affected the test scores, they will recommend adjustments so that all 9,000 test-takers statewide have an even field, Hawley said.

For example, Hawley said, the consultants might recommend ''recalibrating'' the exams by throwing out all the results for one or more questions.

''We have a test that can lose a piece or two and still be valid'' to determine the abilities of would-be lawyers, Hawley said.

The bar has had to make similar adjustments in previous years because of disasters such as earthquakes, floods or power outages, but it is unlikely the entire test will be thrown out or retaken, Hawley said.

''That's never been done,'' he said.

The decision, which will be made by a state bar committee, won't be made for several months since test results usually are released in November, Hawley said.

Hawley said the bar will consult with psychometricians -- people who study the science of test-taking, among other things -- to determine whether the results of the test could be affected. But the bar, so to speak, has been set high. Past test-takers have endured earthquakes, power outages and other emergencies.

"While it was momentarily unnerving, I've not heard that there was a significant disruption," Hawley said. "You can't treat Sally different than Johnny just because one person felt the earthquake more than others."

Anonymous said...

WTF!? GP do you think the room we were in will get penalized, because we got "extra time"???? I'm calling the committee tomorrow this is bologne!!!

Anonymous said...

I passed the February '08 exam, and would be pretty upset if I hadn't been given an extra 5 mins after the quake. You can write ALOT in 5 mins - especially at the end of a session, when you're making a final key argument, etc. Interesting. I sympathize w/ the July '08 candidates in the LA area

Anonymous said...

But we weren't give 5 extra minutes, we finished in 3 hours overall; the proctor stopped the clock!

Nick said...

They will definitely not penalize anyone. The only way anything will happen is if there are huge statiscal anamolies from area to area which, will not happen even if people were apparently given "extra time." If anything, the Ontario scores will be lower because most went under the tables during the quake.

Anonymous said...

I hope so, Nick.
My friend took it in Ontario, and she said even after the earthquakes stopped, she was really distracted by those huge swinging lights overhead.
It really spooked her, and so periodically she kept glancing up while she was reading and writing.

Anonymous said...

I took the exam in Ontario and was in the room that allegedly got "extra" 5 minutes. While the proctor announced that an extra 5-minute would be added, we were not actually given any extra time to complete the exam. Moreover, I believe that most people in the room, including myself, were destracted as a result of the earthquake. Hence, we have already been "penalized" as a result of the quake and no additional penalties should be imposed upon any of the bar exam takers.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any info, good or bad, on a bar tutor named Vivian Dempsey?