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Predictive Validity of the LSAT: A National Summary of the 1995-1996 Correlation Studies (TR-97-01)

Executive Summary

Since the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) was first administered, the sponsors of the test have carried out predictive validity studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the test as well as other predictors in determining first-year law school performance. Over the years, increasingly large numbers of law schools have participated in these studies, commonly called correlation studies.

This report presents a summary of correlation study results for the 1995 and 1996 study years. This summary can serve as documentation of the generalizability of the claim of the validity of the LSAT for use in the law school admission process. More importantly, this study provides national longitudinal data for law schools to examine against their school-specific results to increase understanding of their own admission process. Since correlation studies are conducted for individual schools and school-specific results are reported only to the school whose data were analyzed, the results reported in this study may be used by schools as a benchmark in evaluating their own results.

This report is largely a replication of an earlier study by Wightman (1993). The Wightman study, carried out for the 1990-1992 correlation study years, used scores reported on the 10-48 score scale. The current report, based on 165 law schools that participated in the correlation studies for both the 1995 and 1996 study years, is the first report utilizing the 120-180 score scale, introduced in June 1991.

The effectiveness of the LSAT score alone, undergraduate grade-point average (UGPA) alone, and the combination of these two variables for predicting first-year law school average (FYA) is evaluated. As previous studies have shown, results reported here indicate that the LSAT alone tends to be a better predictor of law school performance than is UGPA alone. The combination of LSAT and UGPA, however, continues to be superior to either predictor variable alone for predicting law school first-year average. These results support the validity of the LSAT for use in the law school admission process.


Predictive Validity of the LSAT: A National Summary of the 1995-1996 Correlation Studies (TR-97-01)

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