Friday, March 19, 2004
Bar Applicants Ask Examiners to Consider Problems With Administration of Exam Caused by Weather
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A group of bar applicants who took the February exam will ask the Committee of Bar Examiners to consider adjusting scores to compensate for problems with the administration of the test, a spokesman for the applicants said yesterday.
USC School of Law graduate Carlos X. Colorado said his group, Applicants for Equity, has forwarded a petition to the bar examiners, who are scheduled to discuss the problems today. The meeting is closed to the public and representatives of the test-takers have not been invited, Colorado told the MetNews.
“I’m confident that they are going to be fair,” Colorado said. But the situation is “stressful” for the examinees, some of whom have discussed the possibility of litigation, he said.
A memo on the State Bar’s Website confirms that the committee is to address the problems at the Pasadena Convention Center, where 700 laptop computer users took a portion of the test on Feb. 26.
Flooding caused by heavy rains the night before cause a lengthy delay in the start of the exam, leading to a decision by exam officials to cancel a portion of the exam, specifically the second of the two performance tests.
The State Bar memo does not, however, address a second problem that Colorado said affected all laptop users that day—a problem with the ExamSoft software. All laptop users must download the program, which prevents users from running any other program while taking the essay portions of the exam.
Colorado said that the examinees were faced with major slowdowns when taking the essay portion of the exam because the software repeatedly froze while saving archived copies of the essay answers, making it impossible to delete or insert text for seconds at a time. This led, he said, to a significant loss of time for the applicants, who had to write three essays in three hours.
Colorado’s group noted that the committee is to meet with its experts today when it considers how to deal with the weather problem.
“Whatever formula is used in accounting for these two incidents, we wish to be notified of the proposed plan by the psychometricians before any adjustments are actually made to our test scores,” Applicants for Equity said in a statement.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company