Accommodated Test-Taker Trends and Performance for the June 2002 through February 2007 LSAT Administrations (TR-08-02)
by Andrea E. Thornton, Laura A. Marcus, and Lynda M. Reese

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 the performance of accommodated LSAT takers for the 2002–2003 through 2006–2007 LSAT testing years. Specifically, the most recent data with regard to the number and type of LSAT accommodations being requested and granted, as well as the distribution of accommodation requests across the various disability classifications represented, are summarized. 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-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 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 2002–2003 through 2006–2007 testing years are summarized below.

Trends With Regard to the Request and Approval of LSAT Accommodations

  • The number of requests for accommodated testing conditions remained steady across the 5 testing years, with the number of accommodated requests highest in the 2006–2007 testing year at 2,010.
  • The number of approved accommodation requests remained fairly stable across the 5 testing years, hovering around 1,000.
  • Test takers with Learning Disorders 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-print or Braille test booklet formats.
  • The most common accommodations granted were a separate testing room, extra test time, extra rest time, and a computer for the writing sample of the LSAT.
  • 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, although accommodated test takers in the later study years had less time left over after finishing the multiple-choice sections and writing sample, they had enough time to finish these sections for all 5 years covered by this report.
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 Caucasian/White accommodated test takers was higher than in the standard test-taking population, while the African American/Black and Asian/Pacific Islander accommodated test-taking racial/ethnic groups were underrepresented compared to the standard test-taking population.
  • 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 slightly 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 score gains 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 score gains 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, and 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 2002 through February 2007 LSAT Administrations (TR-08-02)

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