LSAC applies two procedures to ensure that the LSAT is fair to all test takers regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or national background. First, each LSAT question individually, and every LSAT test form as a whole, is subjected to careful review by trained reviewers for fairness and sensitivity to all test takers. Questions that are determined to be unfair or offensive to people on the basis of their age, gender, disability, regional or national background, ethnic group, or race are eliminated.
Secondly, LSAT items, both when administered as part of an unscored pretest or preequating section and when administered as part of a scored LSAT, are subjected to special statistical analysis. This analysis identifies test questions that, because of differences in performance between members of subgroups of the testing population in spite of similar levels of skills as determined by their performance on the test as a whole, merit special review to determine whether or not they are fair. Such items are reviewed by trained staff, including, where possible, members of the relevant population subgroup. Items determined to be unfair are eliminated or not scored.
Advice to Law Schools on Use of LSAT Scores
Because LSATs are administered to all applicants under standard conditions and each test form requires the same or equivalent tasks of everyone, LSAT scores provide a standard measure of an applicant's proficiency in the well-defined set of skills included in the test. Comparison of a law school's applicants both with other applicants to the same school and with all applicants who have LSAT scores thus becomes feasible. However, while LSAT scores serve a useful purpose in the admission process, they do not measure, nor are they intended to measure, all the elements important to success at individual institutions. LSAT scores must be examined in relation to the total range of information available about a prospective law student. It is in this context that the following guidelines for using LSAT scores are urged:
Do not use the LSAT score as a sole criterion for admission.
Those who set admission policies and criteria should always keep in mind the fact that the LSAT does not measure every discipline-related skill necessary for academic work, nor does it measure other factors important to academic success.
Evaluate the predictive utility of the LSAT at your school.
In order to assist in assuring that there is a demonstrated relationship between quantitative data used in the selection process and actual performance in your law school, such data should be evaluated regularly so that your school can use LSAT scores and other information more effectively.
Do not use LSAT scores without an understanding of the limitations of such tests.
Admission officers and members of admission committees should be knowledgeable about tests and test data and should recognize test limitations.
Avoid improper use of cutoff scores.
Cutoff LSAT scores (those below which no applicants will be considered) are strongly discouraged. Such boundaries should be used only if the choice of a particular cutoff is based on a carefully considered and formulated rationale that is supported by empirical data, for example, one based on clear evidence that those scoring below the cutoff have substantial difficulty doing satisfactory law school work.
Do not place excessive significance on score differences.
Scores should be viewed as approximate indicators rather than exact measures of an applicant's abilities. Distinctions on the basis of LSAT scores should be made among applicants only when those score differences are reliable.
Carefully evaluate LSAT scores earned under accommodated or nonstandard conditions.
LSAC has no data to demonstrate that scores earned under accommodated conditions have the same meaning as scores earned under standard conditions.
Avoid encouraging use of the LSAT for functions other than admission.
The LSAT was designed to serve admission functions only. It has not been validated for any other purpose.
More information is available in LSAC's Cautionary Policies Concerning LSAT Scores and Related Services (PDF).
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