Thursday, September 8, 2016

The July 2016 Bar Exam: Georgia and the Nightmare of Incorrect Scores

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As we wait for the release of bar exam results, all of us have had nightmares about how we did or how the exam was scored. The usual nightmare of monsters in the closet seemed to have come true for some test takers in Georgia and other states.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Board of Bar Examiners announced that 45 takers on both the July 2015 exam and the February 2016 exam incorrectly had been told they failed when they actually passed, according to

It’s not the first time that scoring errors have occurred, per A handful of jurisdictions have incorrectly told exam takers that they either passed or failed over the past two decades.

In 2014, the Nebraska State Bar Commission mistakenly told three people they passed when they failed, and three people who failed were informed that they passed. One affected test taker, who was told he actually failed just less than a day before he was to be sworn into the bar.

In 2007, the South Carolina Supreme Court adopted a scoring change that allowed 20 test takers who had initially failed to later pass because of a scoring error on the section of the test on wills, trusts and estates.

A 2003 scoring error on the February MBE changed nearly 7,700 scores out of the 20,000 test takers,although it changed few overall outcomes.

In 1999, the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners incorrectly recorded scores and 13 takers were told they passed when they actually failed. Three people who failed actually passed. Two years earlier, the board lost 117 answer booklets during the grading process.

It’s unknown how many bar exam scoring mistakes are never caught or publicly disclosed.

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