The Validity of Law School Admission Test Scores for Repeaters: 2001 through 2004 Entering Law School Classes (TR-06-02)
by Andrea E. Thornton, Lisa Anthony Stilwell, and Lynda M. Reese

Executive Summary

When faced with multiple scores from repeat test takers, users of standardized assessments typically employ the “most recent,” “highest,” or “average” score to summarize an individual’s related performance. This study examines the validity of these three indices for Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores in terms of predicting first-year law school grades. The “initial” score was also considered in order to provide additional baseline information. Confirming earlier research study results, this study found that the simple arithmetic average of multiple scores provided, among the indices considered, the best prediction of subsequent law school performance for repeaters. This finding held when LSAT scores were considered alone or in combination with undergraduate grade-point averages (UGPA).

Note that this and previous studies also underscore the need to consider individual circumstances when evaluating scores for repeat test takers. That is, score users should evaluate multiple scores in the context of any additional valid documentation that might be available that suggests that any of an applicant’s test scores may not accurately reflect his or her actual abilities.

The current study was based on data from U.S. law schools that participated in the Correlation Studies in 2004 and 2005. Results for four entering classes, from the fall of 2001 through the fall of 2004, were combined within each school. The sample contains only the 177 schools whose combined enrollment included a total of 50 or more first-year students who had taken the LSAT on more than one occasion. Data were combined across four years, as available, in order to obtain sample sizes large enough to assure stability in the validity estimates. In addition to validity results, this study provides descriptive summaries comparing one-time test takers with repeat test takers. Repeat test takers tend to earn lower LSAT scores than one-time test takers regardless of whether the initial, most recent, highest, or average score is considered. One-timers also tend to have slightly higher undergraduate and first-year law school grade-point averages.

The Validity of Law School Admission Test Scores for Repeaters: 2001 through 2004 Entering Law School Classes (TR-06-02)

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