LSAT Performance with Regional, Gender, and Racial/Ethnic Breakdowns: 1995-96 Through 2001-2002 Testing Years (TR-02-01)
by Susan P. Dalessandro, Lisa Anthony Stilwell, and Lynda M. Reese

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to provide summary information about Law School Admission Test (LSAT) performance for test takers classified by country, region of the United States, gender, race/ethnicity, and race/ethnicity within gender. LSAT performance is summarized for the 1995–1996 through 2001–2002 testing years. By compiling this summary information into a single report, trends with regard to the performance and representation of various subgroups may be tracked and monitored. The primary results observed for the time period covered by this report are summarized below.

In evaluating the results reported below, the reader should bear in mind that the test takers who contributed to the various regional, gender, and racial/ethnic statistics were self-selected. That is, these test takers chose to take the LSAT themselves; they were not randomly chosen to be assessed. Also, test takers voluntarily self-reported their gender and race/ethnicity. That is, individuals chose whether or not to respond to these classification questions and decided how they would respond (especially with regard to race/ethnicity). As a result, differences in LSAT performances across region, gender, or racial/ethnic subgroups cannot be attributed to these subgroups in general, but merely to representatives of these subgroups who chose to take the LSAT and identified themselves as belonging to these groups.

General Trends Regarding the LSAT

  • There was a downward trend in test-taker volume from the 1995–1996 to 1997–1998 testing years, and an increase in test-taker volume from the 1997–1998 to 2001–2002 testing years. The most notable increase in test-taker volume was observed for the 2001–2002 testing year.
  • The overall distribution of LSAT scores has remained fairly constant.
  • The largest numbers of test takers have taken the LSAT at the September/October and December administrations.
  • Average LSAT scores have been slightly higher for the groups of test takers who test at the September/October and June administrations and slightly lower for the group of test takers who test at the December and February administrations.

Trends Regarding Canada and Foreign Countries

  • Approximately 6% of all test takers have taken the LSAT in Canada.
  • Approximately 1% of all test takers has taken the LSAT in a foreign country. (For the purpose of this report, a foreign country is defined as any country outside of Canada and the United States.)
  • Canadian and foreign test takers have had slightly higher mean LSAT scores than test takers from the United States.

Trends Regarding the United States

  • The percentage of test takers who have taken the LSAT in each region of the United States has remained fairly constant. The highest percentage of test takers tested in the Northeast region from the 1995–1996 through the 1999–2000 testing years. An approximately equal number tested in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions for the 2000–2001 testing year and the greatest number of test takers tested in the Great Lakes region in the 2001–2002 testing year. The smallest percentage tested in the Northwest region for all testing years covered in this report.
  • The performance of test takers from the various regions has remained fairly constant. Test takers in the Northwest region scored highest in the 1995–1996 and 1996–1997 testing years. Since the 1997–1998 testing year, test takers in New England have scored the highest. Test takers in the Southeast and South Central regions have scored lowest on average.

Trends Regarding Gender

  • From the 1995–1996 to 1997–1998 testing years, there were slightly more male test takers than female test takers, but this gap has been decreasing. Nearly equal numbers of male and female test takers took the LSAT in the 1998–1999 testing year. The 1999–2000 and 2000–2001 testing years show more female test takers than male test takers. The 2001–2002 testing year shows nearly equal numbers of male and female test takers.
  • Male test takers have consistently scored slightly higher than female test takers.
  • The percentage of test takers who did not indicate their gender has been consistently small for the past six years and decreased in the 2001–2002 testing year to 0.03%. The no-response group has had the highest mean LSAT score in the past seven years.

Trends Regarding Race/Ethnicity

  • Caucasian test takers have been the largest percentage of test takers. African American test takers and Asian American test takers have been the next largest groups in terms of percentages.
  • Average LSAT scores have been highest for Caucasian and Asian American test takers. African American test takers and Puerto Rican test takers have had the lowest mean LSAT scores.
  • The percentage of test takers who did not indicate their race/ethnicity had steadily increased from about 0.8% in the 1995–1996 testing year to about 2.0% in the 1997–1998 testing year, but has decreased in the last couple of testing years to about 0.5% for the 2001–2002 testing year. The no-response group had the highest mean LSAT score for the past five years and the second highest mean LSAT score in the two years prior to that.

Trends Regarding Gender and Race/Ethnicity

  • Among the Caucasian subgroup, there have been more male than female test takers, while there have been more female than male test takers for the African American and Asian American subgroups.
  • The number of test takers who indicated neither their gender nor their race/ethnicity was noticeably higher in the 1997–1998 and 1998–1999 testing years compared to previous and subsequent testing years.
     
LSAT Performance with Regional, Gender, and Racial/Ethnic Breakdowns: 1995-96 Through 2001-2002 Testing Years (TR-02-01)

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