LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

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sg7007
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LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby sg7007 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:19 pm

There were just so many posts on the other thread. The discussion was going nowhere, so I've created a new thread on this topic. This is still an important issue for me because if I can't persuade at least some of you, then it wouldn't be worth writing an addendum for the LSAT score. And, I still firmly believe, from my first-hand experience, that ESL students' LSAT score might not accurately reflect the person's true ability.

I've compared ESL students' situation with those of AA minorities and people with learning disabilities. The case for AA minorities might not be suitable to discuss here because there's another dimension to take into consideration: the diversity factor, which is subjective and might not be extended to ESL students who are mostly international students. (To refer to ESL students, I'm talking about those who have begun speaking English since like 19 or 20, well past the critical period of learning a foreign language.)

Then, now we have the case for people with learning disabilities. The LSAC currently provides a measure of accomodation to people with learning disabilities. (longer testing time) This is the same as an indirect score boost. The underlying assumption behind this accomodation is their LSAT scores retrieved under the "normal" condition might underrepresent their actual future performance in law school and in the profession.

Now, the assumption that justifies an "adjustment" for ESL applicants, is the same as that for giving an indirect boost to people with learning disabilities: ESL students' LSAT score might underrepresent their actual future performances as a law student and as a lawyer. If you agree with this assumption and still disagree with giving an "adjustment" for ESL students in the app cycle, then there is a double standard.

I'm not here to get people to sympathize with me. I'm here trying to collectively find a correct answer. Before I get convinced by someone's argument, I would still believe what I believe to be true. It might be rare for an average student in the states to have a friend with ESL who seems to be "unfairly" punished on a standardized test, but let's put aside ego or any other distracting issues to focus on the argument itself.

As someone on the other thread pointed out, Stanford Law School seems to give a very slight advantage to ESL applicants. (The statistics demonstrates this.) I don't mean to argue for a universal measure of such. I mean to examine whether Stanford's policy is theoretically right or not.

likemiketysonbigass
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby likemiketysonbigass » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:26 pm

sg7007 wrote:There were just so many posts on the other thread. The discussion was going nowhere, so I've created a new thread on this topic. This is still an important issue for me because if I can't persuade at least some of you, then it wouldn't be worth writing an addendum for the LSAT score. And, I still firmly believe, from my first-hand experience, that ESL students' LSAT score might not accurately reflect the person's true ability.

I've compared ESL students' situation with those of AA minorities and people with learning disabilities. The case for AA minorities might not be suitable to discuss here because there's another dimension to take into consideration: the diversity factor, which is subjective and might not be extended to ESL students who are mostly international students. (To refer to ESL students, I'm talking about those who have begun speaking English since like 19 or 20, well past the critical period of learning a foreign language.)

Then, now we have the case for people with learning disabilities. The LSAC currently provides a measure of accomodation to people with learning disabilities. (longer testing time) This is the same as an indirect score boost. The underlying assumption behind this accomodation is their LSAT scores retrieved under the "normal" condition might underrepresent their actual future performance in law school and in the profession.

Now, the assumption that justifies an "adjustment" for ESL applicants, is the same as that for giving an indirect boost to people with learning disabilities: ESL students' LSAT score might underrepresent their actual future performances as a law student and as a lawyer. If you agree with this assumption and still disagree with giving an "adjustment" for ESL students in the app cycle, then there is a double standard.

I'm not here to get people to sympathize with me. I'm here trying to collectively find a correct answer. Before I get convinced by someone's argument, I would still believe what I believe to be true. It might be extremely rare for an average student in the states to have an ESL student who seems to be "unfairly" punished on a standardized test, but let's put aside ego or any distracting issues to focus on the argument itself.

As someone on the other thread pointed out, Stanford Law School seems to give a very slight advantage to ESL applicants. (The statistics demonstrates this.) I don't mean to argue for a universal measure of such. I mean to examine whether Stanford's policy is theoretically right or not.


+1

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bluejayk
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby bluejayk » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:45 pm

sg7007 wrote:There were just so many posts on the other thread. The discussion was going nowhere, so I've created a new thread on this topic. This is still an important issue for me because if I can't persuade at least some of you, then it wouldn't be worth writing an addendum for the LSAT score. And, I still firmly believe, from my first-hand experience, that ESL students' LSAT score might not accurately reflect the person's true ability.

I've compared ESL students' situation with those of AA minorities and people with learning disabilities. The case for AA minorities might not be suitable to discuss here because there's another dimension to take into consideration: the diversity factor, which is subjective and might not be extended to ESL students who are mostly international students. (To refer to ESL students, I'm talking about those who have begun speaking English since like 19 or 20, well past the critical period of learning a foreign language.)

Then, now we have the case for people with learning disabilities. The LSAC currently provides a measure of accomodation to people with learning disabilities. (longer testing time) This is the same as an indirect score boost. The underlying assumption behind this accomodation is their LSAT scores retrieved under the "normal" condition might underrepresent their actual future performance in law school and in the profession.

Now, the assumption that justifies an "adjustment" for ESL applicants, is the same as that for giving an indirect boost to people with learning disabilities: ESL students' LSAT score might underrepresent their actual future performances as a law student and as a lawyer. If you agree with this assumption and still disagree with giving an "adjustment" for ESL students in the app cycle, then there is a double standard.


A non-native speaker who didn't seriously begin learning English until late teens who score a 17x has done something more impressive than a native speaker who scores a 17x has. I can't imagine the adcomms aren't impressed by someone who does that in a way that they are not from someone who has spoken English their whole life. That could lead to some slight preference for some ESL applicants, I'm fine with that.

But what are you proposing really? To just assume that an ESL applicant would score 2-3 higher if the test had been given in their native language? That's just not always true. For some students it's probably a 20 point difference, for some it might be only 1 or 2. When a disabled student gets accommodated testing, their LSAT score is not compared to anyone else's score, that's why they get a scaled score (165 or whatever) but not a percentile on their report. Also, if a law school chooses to accept him, his score does not count toward that school's medians. Basically, he's not being measured against anyone else. LSAC only does this because they legally have to, they've fought against it as hard as they can. So what would be done about ESL students? I can't see it being anything other than a soft factor, like "wow, he grew up in xyzistan but he was able to score a 170. He must be really sharp."

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billyez
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby billyez » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:37 am

Wait a moment.

You started a new topic about something because you failed to convince people the first time around (which was just yesterday)? You mentioned that's it's not worth writing an addendum if you can't convince people here. That's ridiculous. If I recall correctly, I didn't bother trying to convince people that my GPA addendum was necessary and justified; I just went ahead and wrote it.

Also, you got a 169. What the heck are you arguing about? What do you want? Do you want a majority of the people here to agree with you? Too bad. This is an internet forum. Things don't work that way - this is the kind of medium of expression that usually results in people digging their heels in their original opinion.

You would be better served working on your classes, on your applications, or if you really unsatisfied with a 169 for some reason, on studying for the LSAT. If you feel so strongly about this still, why are you creaitng topics about it on an internet forum instead of contacting LSAC?
Last edited by billyez on Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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JazzOne
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby JazzOne » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:39 am

This crap again?

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Ragged
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby Ragged » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:54 am

Being ESL is gonna score you diversity points but it isn't gonna turn your 169 into 174. As a fellow ESL, I'll be the first one to say that.

LSAT is just a number. I don't believe it measures one's ability to succeed in law school, ESL or not. So there is really nothing to talk about.

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BLi
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby BLi » Sat Nov 07, 2009 3:00 am

sg7007 wrote:There were just so many posts on the other thread. The discussion was going nowhere, so I've created a new thread on this topic. This is still an important issue for me because if I can't persuade at least some of you, then it wouldn't be worth writing an addendum for the LSAT score. And, I still firmly believe, from my first-hand experience, that ESL students' LSAT score might not accurately reflect the person's true ability.

I've compared ESL students' situation with those of AA minorities and people with learning disabilities. The case for AA minorities might not be suitable to discuss here because there's another dimension to take into consideration: the diversity factor, which is subjective and might not be extended to ESL students who are mostly international students. (To refer to ESL students, I'm talking about those who have begun speaking English since like 19 or 20, well past the critical period of learning a foreign language.)

Then, now we have the case for people with learning disabilities. The LSAC currently provides a measure of accomodation to people with learning disabilities. (longer testing time) This is the same as an indirect score boost. The underlying assumption behind this accomodation is their LSAT scores retrieved under the "normal" condition might underrepresent their actual future performance in law school and in the profession.

Now, the assumption that justifies an "adjustment" for ESL applicants, is the same as that for giving an indirect boost to people with learning disabilities: ESL students' LSAT score might underrepresent their actual future performances as a law student and as a lawyer. If you agree with this assumption and still disagree with giving an "adjustment" for ESL students in the app cycle, then there is a double standard.

I'm not here to get people to sympathize with me. I'm here trying to collectively find a correct answer. Before I get convinced by someone's argument, I would still believe what I believe to be true. It might be rare for an average student in the states to have a friend with ESL who seems to be "unfairly" punished on a standardized test, but let's put aside ego or any other distracting issues to focus on the argument itself.

As someone on the other thread pointed out, Stanford Law School seems to give a very slight advantage to ESL applicants. (The statistics demonstrates this.) I don't mean to argue for a universal measure of such. I mean to examine whether Stanford's policy is theoretically right or not.

Image

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dudester
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby dudester » Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:57 am

bluejayk wrote:
sg7007 wrote:There were just so many posts on the other thread. The discussion was going nowhere, so I've created a new thread on this topic. This is still an important issue for me because if I can't persuade at least some of you, then it wouldn't be worth writing an addendum for the LSAT score. And, I still firmly believe, from my first-hand experience, that ESL students' LSAT score might not accurately reflect the person's true ability.

I've compared ESL students' situation with those of AA minorities and people with learning disabilities. The case for AA minorities might not be suitable to discuss here because there's another dimension to take into consideration: the diversity factor, which is subjective and might not be extended to ESL students who are mostly international students. (To refer to ESL students, I'm talking about those who have begun speaking English since like 19 or 20, well past the critical period of learning a foreign language.)

Then, now we have the case for people with learning disabilities. The LSAC currently provides a measure of accomodation to people with learning disabilities. (longer testing time) This is the same as an indirect score boost. The underlying assumption behind this accomodation is their LSAT scores retrieved under the "normal" condition might underrepresent their actual future performance in law school and in the profession.

Now, the assumption that justifies an "adjustment" for ESL applicants, is the same as that for giving an indirect boost to people with learning disabilities: ESL students' LSAT score might underrepresent their actual future performances as a law student and as a lawyer. If you agree with this assumption and still disagree with giving an "adjustment" for ESL students in the app cycle, then there is a double standard.


A non-native speaker who didn't seriously begin learning English until late teens who score a 17x has done something more impressive than a native speaker who scores a 17x has. I can't imagine the adcomms aren't impressed by someone who does that in a way that they are not from someone who has spoken English their whole life. That could lead to some slight preference for some ESL applicants, I'm fine with that.

But what are you proposing really? To just assume that an ESL applicant would score 2-3 higher if the test had been given in their native language? That's just not always true. For some students it's probably a 20 point difference, for some it might be only 1 or 2. When a disabled student gets accommodated testing, their LSAT score is not compared to anyone else's score, that's why they get a scaled score (165 or whatever) but not a percentile on their report. Also, if a law school chooses to accept him, his score does not count toward that school's medians. Basically, he's not being measured against anyone else. LSAC only does this because they legally have to, they've fought against it as hard as they can. So what would be done about ESL students? I can't see it being anything other than a soft factor, like "wow, he grew up in xyzistan but he was able to score a 170. He must be really sharp."


+1

I think comparing the supposed merit of an accommodation/boost for ESL test takers to that of people with disabilities is ridiculous and borderline disrespectful. If you believe that your ability to succeed in law school is not accurately reflected by your LSAT score because you started learning English when you were 19 years old, here's a suggestion: Keep on learning and practicing your English until you're 39 so that -maybe- you will feel you're more up to par with the standards for a 21-year-old student or take whatever entrance exam your own country offers in your native language so that you get a more representative score and practice law there.

Hey, more power to you if you are ESL and get a great LSAT score. Schools will/won't find it impressive based on the rest of your application like they will/won't find a native speaker's 172 impressive if he/she has a 2.0 GPA. If you get a crappy score and feel you got shortchanged, go rant at your inept English teacher. Don't ask schools to give you a boost or the LSAC to give you an accommodation...your law professor certainly won't do either.

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SanBun
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby SanBun » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:48 pm

agree that language barriers are not the same as learning disabilities.

A bunch of schools do give international students a boost (from Richard Montauk's book):

“An LSAT score of 162-164 for a Chinese applicant would be fine.” Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, Stanford

“The rough equivalent to an American scoring 165 on the LSAT would be a German (i.e., someone from a country where English is hardly unknown) scoring 163-164 or a Chinese from interior China (whose exposure to English is very limited) scoring 161-162. (We will look closely at foreigners’ essay to see whether they have command of the English language.)" Assistant Dean for Admissions, Georgetown


“How much decisional weight is placed on the LSAT score?”
“…, it receives less weight for second language English speakers...” Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions, Michigan


conclusion: Yes, some of the top law schools will cut you some slack because they are "aware that standardized tests may not be as predictive for a non-native speaker" (Rob Schwartz, UCLA)

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MC Southstar
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby MC Southstar » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:06 pm

I don't agree with any adjustment that has no realistic purpose other than sympathy. Underrepresented means exactly that, minorities that need representation and otherwise would be severely lacking. If you are coming from overseas, you are choosing to come to this country and you are expected to be proficient at English if you want to go into a language intensive field, they didn't have a choice. I'm not really decided on the disabilities thing. I think it is too broad a term, you'd have to look at a case by case basis.

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SanBun
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby SanBun » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:13 pm

shadowfrost000 wrote:I don't agree with any adjustment that has no realistic purpose other than sympathy. Underrepresented means exactly that, minorities that need representation and otherwise would be severely lacking. If you are coming from overseas, you are choosing to come to this country and you are expected to be proficient at English if you want to go into a language intensive field, they didn't have a choice. I'm not really decided on the disabilities thing. I think it is too broad a term, you'd have to look at a case by case basis.


I agree with that. No adjustment should be made purely out of sympathy. From what I understand, the deans I quoted make the adjustment not out of sympathy, but because the LSAT likely does not predict an international student's performance as reliably as is the case for a native speaker. It seems the slight boost is based on experience w/ international student performance, rather than sympathy.

Just my two cents.
But yes, I agree, once you go to a foreign country you have to speak the language perfectly. And it makes me proud to say that English is my 3rd language out of 6, 3 of which I'm fluent in
i'd give 2 points on the LSAT in exchange for proficiency multiple languages, any time :D
but hey that's just because i wanna be an international baller

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MC Southstar
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby MC Southstar » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:17 pm

SanBun wrote:
shadowfrost000 wrote:I don't agree with any adjustment that has no realistic purpose other than sympathy. Underrepresented means exactly that, minorities that need representation and otherwise would be severely lacking. If you are coming from overseas, you are choosing to come to this country and you are expected to be proficient at English if you want to go into a language intensive field, they didn't have a choice. I'm not really decided on the disabilities thing. I think it is too broad a term, you'd have to look at a case by case basis.


I agree with that. No adjustment should be made purely out of sympathy. From what I understand, the deans I quoted make the adjustment not out of sympathy, but because the LSAT likely does not predict an international student's performance as reliably as is the case for a native speaker. It seems the slight boost is based on experience w/ international student performance, rather than sympathy.

Just my two cents.
But yes, I agree, once you go to a foreign country you have to speak the language perfectly. And it makes me proud to say that English is my 3rd language out of 6, 3 of which I'm fluent in
i'd give 2 points on the LSAT in exchange for proficiency multiple languages, any time :D
but hey that's just because i wanna be an international baller


Zhong guo ren ba?

Yeah, it's up to the school, international students with a lot of promise would certainly add to diversity.

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SanBun
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby SanBun » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:23 pm

HAHA no im not chinese, but i've taken up Chinese recently as a senior in college (not one out of my 6 though.. not yet anyway :) ) ... we'll see how THAT goes hahaha

nope, im from a small country in southeastern Europe :D

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MC Southstar
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby MC Southstar » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:25 pm

SanBun wrote:HAHA no im not chinese, but i've taken up Chinese recently, as a senior in college ... we'll see how THAT goes hahaha

nope, im from a small country in southeastern Europe :D


Duly noted. Impressive enough that you understood the question then, I'll assume your claims about language proficiency were true. =3
Last edited by MC Southstar on Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SanBun
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Re: LSAT and ESL students - 2nd Round

Postby SanBun » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:27 pm

shadowfrost000 wrote:
SanBun wrote:HAHA no im not chinese, but i've taken up Chinese recently, as a senior in college ... we'll see how THAT goes hahaha

nope, im from a small country in southeastern Europe :D


Duly noted. Impressive enough that you understood the question, I'll assume your claims about language proficiency were true.



haha oh well to be honest I wouldn't believe myself if I weren't myself.. does that make sense ? lol

let's just say I left my home country and HAD to learn several languages as a result of that, and learned 2 foreign languages throughout middle and high school in Europe




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