ABA Votes to Maintain Standardized Tests

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On Monday, the American Bar Association (ABA) rejected a proposal to eliminate standardized test requirements at law schools.

Under the proposed change, law schools would have been permitted to implement test-optional policies in 2025.

The effort, led by Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, was intended to make the admissions process more inclusive.

Opponents of standardized tests say they hinder diversity by acting as a barrier to admission for many students of color. A 2019 study showed that underrepresented students tended to score lower on the Law School Admission Test compared to their White peers.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and other groups lobbied against the change, saying standardized tests help potential law students assess their knowledge before pursuing a degree.

“The LSAT is an important tool for advancing diversity,” said LSAC CEO and President Kellye Testy in a statement. “The incoming class of 2022 is by far the most diverse class in history, and more than 98 percent of those students used the LSAT. And this year’s applicants are even more diverse than last year, which bodes well for continued progress.”

Testye added that Monday’s vote will allow the ABA more time to research the impact of test-optional policies on student diversity.

The ABA rejected a similar proposal on standardized testing in 2018.