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Accommodated Test Taker Trends and Performance for the June 1993 through February 1998 LSAT Administrations (TR-01-04)

Executive Summary

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) provides accommodated testing conditions for each administration of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for those test takers with documented disabilities who are unable to take the test under standard testing conditions. The accommodations granted are tailored to the needs of the individual test taker. This report describes trends with regard to accommodated testing for the LSAT and summarizes performance of accommodated LSAT takers for the 1993–1994 through 1997–1998 testing years. Specifically, the most recent data with regard to the number and type of LSAT accommodations being requested and granted are presented, as well as the distribution of accommodation requests across the various disability classifications represented. In addition, the composition of the sample of accommodated test takers is described with regard to gender, race/ethnicity, and age, and where appropriate, compared to the standard LSAT test taking population. The LSAT performance of accommodated test takers is also summarized and compared to the standard test taking population. Finally, the performance of repeat accommodated test takers is also summarized and discussed. In some analyses, accommodated test takers are categorized with regard to testing time—those who tested with extra testing time (Accommodated/Extra Time) are considered separately from those who tested with accommodations that did not include extra testing time (Accommodated/Standard Time).

Some of the most relevant trends observed with regard to accommodated LSAT takers for the 1993–1994 through 1997–1998 testing years are as follows.

Trends with Regard to the Request and Approval of LSAT Accommodations

  • The number of requests for accommodated testing conditions increased steadily from the 1994–1995 through 1996–1997 LSAT testing years, then declined for the 1997–1998 testing year.

  • The number of approved accommodation requests decreased steadily from the 1994–1995 through the 1997–1998 LSAT testing years. This trend is related, at least in part, to LSAC administrative changes that have resulted in more uniform guidelines governing the approval of testing accommodations.

  • Learning Disabled test takers were the largest disability classification for all testing years included in this sample.

  • Most accommodated test takers used the standard test booklet rather than the large-type or Braille and cassette test booklet formats.

  • The most common accommodations granted were extra rest time, extra testing time, a separate testing room, and “other” small accommodations such as the use of a seat cushion or permission to bring food or drink into the testing room.

  • A trend was observed toward granting less rather than more extra testing time. This trend corresponds directly with LSAC changes in the administration of testing accommodations.

  • On average, accommodated test takers have had enough time to finish the multiple-choice sections and writing sample for all five years covered by this report, and test takers had less time left over after finishing these sections in the later testing years. This result indicates that while less extra testing time was granted in the later years, accommodated test takers were often still granted enough time to allow them to complete the test.

Demographic Trends

  • There were more male than female accommodated test takers in the sample analyzed here, whereas male and female test takers tend to be approximately equally represented in the standard test taking population.

  • The representation of the Caucasian subgroup was slightly higher for some of the disability categories than is typically observed for the standard test taking population, with slightly lower representation for the Neurological, Physical, and Visual and Psychological disability categories.

  • For the most part, there were fewer Asian American, African American, and Hispanic test takers in the sample analyzed here than is typically observed for the standard test-taking population, with the exception of the Visual and Psychological disability categories for the African American subgroup and the Learning Disabled category for the Hispanic subgroup. The representation of Visually and Psychologically disabled African American test takers was around 12% and the representation of Learning Disabled Hispanic test takers was around 4%, both of which are similar to the representation of these groups among the standard test-taking population.

  • The representation of Canadian Aboriginal test takers among the various disability categories was high in general as compared to their very low representation within the standard test taking population, with the largest representation being within the Neurological, Physical, and Visual disability categories. 

  • There were more accommodated test takers represented in the older age categories than is typically observed for the standard test taking population.

Performance of Accommodated Test Takers

  • Accommodated/Extra Time test takers tended to have higher LSAT scores than the standard test taking population, while Accommodated/Standard Time test takers tended to have lower LSAT scores than the standard test taking population.

Repeat Accommodated Test Takers

  • Test takers who tested twice under Accommodated/Extra Time testing conditions exhibited slightly higher gain scores on average than is typically observed for the standard test taking population, while those who switched from standard to Accommodated/Extra Time testing conditions exhibited very high gain scores on average.

Note that the trends presented in this report are purely descriptive in nature. While trends with regard to the accommodated test taking population have been described and compared to the standard test taking population, the explanation of the underlying causes of any differences observed is beyond the scope of this report. More specifically, those included in the sample of accommodated test takers being analyzed are, in several respects, self-selected. These test takers chose to take the LSAT and to apply for accommodated testing conditions, then further self-reported their group membership with regard to such factors as gender, race/ethnicity, and age.


Accommodated Test Taker Trends and Performance for the June 1993 through February 1998 LSAT Administrations (TR-01-04)

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