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LSAT Technical Reports
LSAT Performance with Regional, Gender, and Racial/Ethnic Breakdowns: 2003–2004 Through 2009–2010 Testing Years (TR 10-03)
by Susan P. Dalessandro, Lisa A. Stilwell, Jennifer A. Lawlor, and Lynda M. Reese
The purpose of this report is to provide summary information about Law School Admission Test (LSAT) performance for test takers classified by country, region of the United States, gender only, race/ethnicity only, and both race/ethnicity and gender. Information regarding LSAT performance is summarized for the 2003–2004 through 2009–2010 testing years and compiled into a single report, enabling trends with regard to the performance and representation of various subgroups to be tracked and monitored. The primary results observed for the time period covered by this report are summarized below.
In evaluating these results, the reader should bear in mind that the test takers who contributed to the various regional, gender, and racial/ethnic statistics were selfselected. That is, these test takers chose to take the LSAT themselves; they were not randomly chosen to be assessed. Also, test takers voluntarily self-reported their gender and race/ethnicity. That is, individuals chose whether or not to respond to these classification questions and decided how they would respond (especially with regard to race/ethnicity). As a result, differences in LSAT performances across region, gender, or racial/ethnic subgroups cannot be attributed to these subgroups in general, but merely to representatives of these subgroups who chose to take the LSAT and identified themselves as belonging to these subgroups.
General Trends Regarding the LSAT
- There was a downward trend in test-administered volume from the 2003–2004 to the 2005–2006 testing years. Since 2006–2007, however, volumes have increased, with the 2008–2009 test-administered volume increasing 6.5% from the 2007–2008 volume and the 2009–2010 test-taker volume increasing 13.3% from the 2008–2009 volume.
- The overall distribution of LSAT scores has remained fairly constant.
- The largest numbers of test takers have taken the LSAT at the September/October and December administrations.
- Average LSAT scores have been slightly higher for test takers who test at the June and September/October administrations and slightly lower for test takers who test at the December and February administrations.
Trends Regarding Canada and Foreign Countries
- Approximately 6.6% of test takers have taken the LSAT in Canada.
- Approximately 1.8% of test takers have taken the LSAT in a foreign country. (For the purpose of this report, a foreign country is defined as any country outside of Canada and the United States.)
- Canadian and foreign test takers have had slightly higher mean LSAT scores than test takers from the United States.
Trends Regarding the United States
- The percentage of test takers who have taken the LSAT in each region of the United States has remained fairly constant. The highest percentage of test takers tested in the Northeast region for all testing years. The smallest percentage tested in the Northwest region for all testing years covered in this report.
- The performance of test takers from the various regions has remained fairly constant. Test takers in the New England region have scored the highest for all testing years covered in this report. Test takers in the Southeast and South Central regions have scored the lowest on average.
Trends Regarding Gender
- From the 2003–2004 to the 2005–2006 testing years, there were slightly more male test takers than female test takers. For the 2006–2007 testing year, there were slightly more female test takers than male test takers. In 2007–2008, there were almost equal numbers of male and female test takers. For the last 2 testing years (2008–2009 and 2009–2010) there have been slightly more male test takers than female test takers.
- Male test takers have consistently scored slightly higher than female test takers.
- The percentage of test takers not indicating their gender has fluctuated between 0.04% and 0.16% for the 7 years covered in this report. For the 2009–2010 testing year, 0.16% did not indicate their gender. Those not indicating their gender have had the highest mean LSAT score over the past 7 years.
Trends Regarding Race/Ethnicity
- Caucasians have comprised the largest percentage of test takers. African American test takers and Asian/Pacific Islander test takers, respectively, have been the next largest subgroups in terms of percentages.
- Average LSAT scores have been highest for Caucasian and Asian/Pacific Islander test takers. African American test takers and Puerto Rican test takers have had the lowest mean LSAT scores.
- The percentage of test takers who did not indicate their race/ethnicity was somewhat high in 2003–2004 (2.66%) and then decreased to about 1% for the next 3 testing years. The percentage decreased further for the 2007–2008 testing year (0.73%) and 2008–2009 testing year (0.64%). For the 2009–2010 testing year, however, it increased to about 2.70%, a percentage similar to that seen in 2003–2004. This latest increase in the Racial/Ethnic (R/E) No Response rate may be attributed to a recently implemented change to the way this information is being collected from test takers. The R/E No Response subgroup had the highest mean LSAT score for all testing years covered in this report.
Trends Regarding Gender and Race/Ethnicity
- Among the Caucasian subgroup, there have been more male than female test takers, whereas there have been more female than male test takers for the African American and Asian/Pacific Islander subgroups.
- The number of test takers who indicated neither their gender nor their race/ethnicity was noticeably higher in the 2003–2004 testing years compared to subsequent testing years.
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