The bar-takers speak: No do-over of the exam
When it comes to taking the bar exam – or even just part of it — once is enough, thanks.
So say respondents to our online poll regarding how the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners should address a power outage during Tuesday afternoon’s exam. Drained laptop batteries and darkness stopped some test-takers while others kept working. Administrators allotted make-up time, but the end result was that some examinees had more time for the section than others.
If the comments on the NC Lawyers Weekly website are any indication, that possibility was unwelcome for many who left the Jim Graham Building at the State Fairgrounds on Wednesday afternoon with a reasonable belief that they had cleared the last hurdle between them and a law license.
Of the more than 1,000 votes cast in an online poll, only about 10 percent went to “Require every tester to retake the Tuesday afternoon section.” The most popular of the options suggested was “Have graders factor the circumstances into their essay evaluations,” with 40 percent of the vote. “Let the test results stand as-is” and “Give examinees an option of a retest of the Thursday afternoon section” were equally popular, getting 26 and 25 percent of the votes respectively.
Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, said that law exam boards in other jurisdictions have employed the optional retest when faced with other calamities in the past.
“There is no shortage of disasters, large and small, that occur during licensing examinations,” She said. Heat systems have failed in cold climates. Earthquakes have shaken exam sites in California. Test-takers have suffered medical emergencies during the test.
She commended the North Carolina board for its careful consideration of the problem. Van Camp said the board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the issue on Friday, Aug. 3. Lawyers Weekly could not connect with him Friday for a comment.
“What the bar examiners try to do is come up with a rationale that supports consumer interests in not licensing people who are unqualified, while considering the interests of candidates who want to be evaluated fairly, but in all cases, would like to pass,” Moeser said.
She added that assurances of prudent decision-making may be cold comfort for testers.
“If you are the person who just put your body and soul into the bar examination, the last thing you want is to wait and hear what will happen next,” Moeser said. “I think a high quality decision is more important than a quick decision in a case like this.”
Published: July 27, 2012
Time posted: 3:54 pm
Tags: Bar Exam