California Releases Findings From its Investigation of Bar Exam Software Problems

Continuing to update you, several states are actively investigating the software issues that plagued bar exam takers during this past July’s bar exam.

Results from a California investigation have determined that out of more than 7,000 exam takers for the July 2021 California Bar Exam, about 31% experienced software issues. However, the State Bar of California announced that those problems did not result in losses of testing time for most of those exam takers.

The State Bar claims the issues were caused by high memory use between software for video proctoring and generating the test’s digital images.

“ExamSoft takes seriously its responsibility to provide an integrity assessment tool that helps the California Bar administer the bar exam. We continue to assist California and other jurisdictions regarding impacted exam takers and remain committed to all those who depend on us for their assessment needs,” a spokesperson for ExamSoft told the ABA Journal.

According to the California investigation, 2% of examinees lost testing time because of software issues. The California Bar is now working with its psychometrician to determine whether any grade adjustments will be made, and 158 applicants who lost time were granted requests to retake testing sections affected.

Marsha Griggs, advocacy chair of the Association of Academic Support Educators, said the organization did an “unofficial survey” of the July 2021 Bar Exam, and she thinks the number of test-takers actually affected was significantly higher than 2% but she may not be able to prove this theory.

“At one California law school, 25% of survey respondents reported experiencing tech issues. This ExamSoft debacle is another example of the lack of transparency that we are victim to when private and unregulated entities play too great of a role in the attorney licensure process. That is what appears to be happening here, and we have no meaningful access to records that would disprove the numbers reported by California,” wrote Griggs, an Associate Professor and Director of Academic Enrichment and Bar Passage at the Washburn University School of Law, in an email.

You can read more about this issue here.

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