Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

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lawschool22
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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby lawschool22 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:23 pm

I'm starting to think this may be a flame, so I am just going to say I will not be responding to any more posts on the subject and leave it at that :)

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:24 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
liammial wrote:Still no response regarding colleges that list median grades for each class on their transcript? That solves most of GPA's problems.



(1) Most schools do not do this


Plus, simply knowing the median for a particular class, along with the student's grade, tells you nothing beyond simply whether the student was above or below the median. The class might not have been curved at all, and even if it was forcibly curved, unless you also know the standard deviation, you can't tell where the student fell relative to his peers, percentile-wise.

You could have two classes, both with a perfect bell-shaped distribution of grades and a median of 80, and one class could have grades ranging from 60 to 100, while the other has all the grades clustered between 73 and 87. A student with an 85 in the first class would be in the middle of the pack, whereas a 85 student in the second class might have had one of the highest grades.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:30 pm

Scott, I think the solution here is to simply staple more data onto the transcripts rather than to have everyone take a standardized examination. Relevant data could include the standard deviation, the major of everyone in the course (don't want those non-majors included in the eval), and other things. Admissions committees would much rather analyze these things then look at a single standardized score that accounts for them.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby liammial » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:31 pm

(1) Most schools do not do this

But a lot of schools do, especially those with less grade inflation (including the school I went to).

(2) I have already explained why it wouldn't help. One reason is variation among professors. Another is course load. See my prior posts on this topic.

At my school, very few classes were taught by multiple professors, and those classes were scaled the same way regardless of professor. Course load is something law schools see when they open the transcript.

(3) "The better your undergrad, the more GPA counts relative to LSAT" is ridiculous and not true.

It is true, though. I don't know how to say this without sounding boastful, but I went to a top ~6 undergrad that keeps track of numbers for law school applicants, and the applicants (hundreds of them, so not a small sample size) significantly overachieved based on their GPA+LSAT score. One thing I noticed about these applicants was that, especially for those with a high GPA, their average LSAT score for acceptance at a given top 14 law school was ~3 points lower than what mylsn would suggest, and what the law school's median would suggest.

There are also variably difficult course loads, work schedules, and circumstances. There is just no way to account for all of these things, which is why the LSAT was invented.

Those things all affect one's LSAT score.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby lawschool22 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:34 pm

liammial wrote:
(1) Most schools do not do this

But a lot of schools do, especially those with less grade inflation (including the school I went to).

(2) I have already explained why it wouldn't help. One reason is variation among professors. Another is course load. See my prior posts on this topic.

At my school, very few classes were taught by multiple professors, and those classes were scaled the same way regardless of professor. Course load is something law schools see when they open the transcript.

(3) "The better your undergrad, the more GPA counts relative to LSAT" is ridiculous and not true.

It is true, though. I don't know how to say this without sounding boastful, but I went to a top ~6 undergrad that keeps track of numbers for law school applicants, and the applicants (hundreds of them, so not a small sample size) significantly overachieved based on their GPA+LSAT score. One thing I noticed about these applicants was that, especially for those with a high GPA, their average LSAT score for acceptance at a given top 14 law school was ~3 points lower than what mylsn would suggest, and what the law school's median would suggest.

There are also variably difficult course loads, work schedules, and circumstances. There is just no way to account for all of these things, which is why the LSAT was invented.

Those things all affect one's LSAT score.


Dear God I just can't help myself.

Okay, we get it. You went to a school that was made for this "system" you are advocating. But I don't know if you realize that most schools do not do all of this.

And since my guess is right so far (you went to a "top" UG, and probably got a good GPA), could you please just flatter me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:37 pm

lawschool22 wrote: could you please just flatter me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:45 pm

liammial wrote:One thing I noticed about these applicants was that, especially for those with a high GPA, their average LSAT score for acceptance at a given top 14 law school was ~3 points lower than what mylsn would suggest, and what the law school's median would suggest.


Having a better cycle than what LSN would lead you to expect isn't unusual at all. Among the T14, LSN profiles only account for about 10-15% of the schools' total applicant pool, and it's not a representative sample, either - the acceptance rate among LSN users is significantly higher than the acceptance rate of the total applicant pool (sometimes double). And as far as judging by the school's median, remember that by definition, half of the acceptances have scores below the LSAT median.
Last edited by ScottRiqui on Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby kershka » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:50 pm

lawschool22 wrote: could you please just humor me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

FTFY

Also, this whole thread is ridiculous. GPA really cannot replace the sheer usefulness of the LSAT as a standard measure used to compare applicants directly. Perhaps an argument could be made that LSAT should be improved to somehow be more predictive than it currently is, but GPA just isn't anywhere near as useful; there are way too many variables. That's not to say GPA is useless; there's a reason that it is the second most important part of every application. It just isn't as useful as a standarized test because it's not standardized. I say this as someone with a 4.0 who really wishes that 4.0=180 in adcomms' minds.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby liammial » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:06 pm

kershka wrote:
lawschool22 wrote: could you please just humor me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

FTFY

Also, this whole thread is ridiculous. GPA really cannot replace the sheer usefulness of the LSAT as a standard measure used to compare applicants directly. Perhaps an argument could be made that LSAT should be improved to somehow be more predictive than it currently is, but GPA just isn't anywhere near as useful; there are way too many variables. That's not to say GPA is useless; there's a reason that it is the second most important part of every application. It just isn't as useful as a standarized test because it's not standardized. I say this as someone with a 4.0 who really wishes that 4.0=180 in adcomms' minds.

I will say it again: it really appears as though, for applicants from my school, GPA is worth more than LSAT. My school, FWIW, is not notoriously easy or notoriously hard.

Regarding whether I'm a reverse splitter: I was, but I retook and scored a lot higher. I feel like the GPA I achieved is the product of years of hard work, and my LSAT score is the result of teaching myself a ridiculously narrow skillset for two months and getting lucky on test day. I'm currently a senior in college, and my course load, obligations, etc. affected my LSAT score just as they would my GPA.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:18 pm

liammial wrote:I will say it again: it really appears as though, for applicants from my school, GPA is worth more than LSAT. My school, FWIW, is not notoriously easy or notoriously hard.


See my earlier post as to why LSN is a very poor gauge of whether or not your peers truly outperformed their numbers.

liammial wrote: I feel like the GPA I achieved is the product of years of hard work,


Would you also advocate for numerically weighting your later college years more heavily than your earlier years? I'm not just talking about the qualitative bump that adcomms may give to an upward-trending GPA. After all, your later work should be more indicative of the type of student you'll be in law school. Also, should adcomms start quantitatively including postgrad GPA for students who have one, for the same reason?

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby retaking23 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:40 pm

I took the LSAT three times and under-performed quite a bit each time (although I don't think any of my scores is worth apologizing for come addenda). The test is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoy its tortuous fun. I truly feel the LSAT is the way forward.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby JUCO » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:30 pm

This was a great video, really interesting stuff. Makes me wish I would have paid more attention in statistics class three years ago.

I think he said that only 150 African Americans score above a 170... Of 7,000.

If you do the math, that is 2% of AA test takers, which would put them in the 98th percentile of AA test takers, which is the exact SAME for everyone else... 170 is the 98th percentile for EVERYONE. Can someone elaborate on this?

How is there a 10 point drop in average test scores for AA, yet they have the same percentage scoring above 170?


EDIT: For Reference he talks about this at the 34:30 mark
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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby lawschool22 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:32 pm

JUCO wrote:This was a great video, really interesting stuff. Makes me wish I would have paid more attention in statistics class three years ago.

I think he said that only 150 African Americans score above a 170... Of 7,000.

If you do the math, that is 2% of AA test takers, which would put them in the 98th percentile of AA test takers, which is the exact SAME for everyone else... 170 is the 98th percentile for EVERYONE. Can someone elaborate on this?

How is there a 10 point drop in average test scores for AA, yet they have the same percentage scoring above 170?


I have no data on this, but perhaps it is bi-modal. So you have a large amount of lower scores counteracting the 170s?

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby JUCO » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:37 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
JUCO wrote:This was a great video, really interesting stuff. Makes me wish I would have paid more attention in statistics class three years ago.

I think he said that only 150 African Americans score above a 170... Of 7,000.

If you do the math, that is 2% of AA test takers, which would put them in the 98th percentile of AA test takers, which is the exact SAME for everyone else... 170 is the 98th percentile for EVERYONE. Can someone elaborate on this?

How is there a 10 point drop in average test scores for AA, yet they have the same percentage scoring above 170?


I have no data on this, but perhaps it is bi-modal. So you have a large amount of lower scores counteracting the 170s?


You are absolutely correct.

Just did some additional math, Same percentage of AA's score above 170 as everyone else, BUT only 12% score above 150. (Assuming the numbers are remotely correct in the video)

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby JUCO » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:39 pm

kershka wrote:
lawschool22 wrote: could you please just humor me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

FTFY

Also, this whole thread is ridiculous. GPA really cannot replace the sheer usefulness of the LSAT as a standard measure used to compare applicants directly. Perhaps an argument could be made that LSAT should be improved to somehow be more predictive than it currently is, but GPA just isn't anywhere near as useful; there are way too many variables. That's not to say GPA is useless; there's a reason that it is the second most important part of every application. It just isn't as useful as a standarized test because it's not standardized. I say this as someone with a 4.0 who really wishes that 4.0=180 in adcomms' minds.



An argument within this thread is ridiculous... I think the general discussion about the video is pretty interesting.
Last edited by JUCO on Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby lawschool22 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:41 pm

JUCO wrote:
kershka wrote:
lawschool22 wrote: could you please just humor me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

FTFY

Also, this whole thread is ridiculous. GPA really cannot replace the sheer usefulness of the LSAT as a standard measure used to compare applicants directly. Perhaps an argument could be made that LSAT should be improved to somehow be more predictive than it currently is, but GPA just isn't anywhere near as useful; there are way too many variables. That's not to say GPA is useless; there's a reason that it is the second most important part of every application. It just isn't as useful as a standarized test because it's not standardized. I say this as someone with a 4.0 who really wishes that 4.0=180 in adcomms' minds.



An argument within this thread is ridiculous... I think the generally discussion about the video is pretty interesting.


+1 Unfortunately we distracted from the video, which contains some really interesting info.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby JUCO » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:46 pm

Will_McAvoy wrote:
axel.foley wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:VERY interesting and informative.

If anyone is curious, I solved for the "old" UVA weighting formula he describes, and came up with this:

Index = .194175*(LSAT) + 5.82524*(GPA), where LSAT ranges from 120-180 and GPA ranges from .01-4.3.

The range of index should be 40-60. For out of state he said a 55+ would get in.

Obviously this is old, so should not be taken to be currently in use. Although my index using this formula was a 54.39 and I was WL'd, so... :D


This is REALLY interesting stuff. I wonder who in the T14 currently uses an index like this one. Of course none would ever admit it, but I'm sure if UVA did it several others still do. Would love to know the magical formula for each school. I think one could roughly be determined using LSN and seeing at what point candidates become auto admits, but there would definitely be a margin of error...


So, with my 3.6 GPA, it appears I would require a score above ~175 to reach 55. Let's hope they no longer use this...



About 90% of the schools release their index formula.

Here is a current list from LSAC
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B72wOc2BCPxvak96VkxwSzNfcGM/edit?usp=sharing

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:59 pm

JUCO wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:
JUCO wrote:This was a great video, really interesting stuff. Makes me wish I would have paid more attention in statistics class three years ago.

I think he said that only 150 African Americans score above a 170... Of 7,000.

If you do the math, that is 2% of AA test takers, which would put them in the 98th percentile of AA test takers, which is the exact SAME for everyone else... 170 is the 98th percentile for EVERYONE. Can someone elaborate on this?

How is there a 10 point drop in average test scores for AA, yet they have the same percentage scoring above 170?


I have no data on this, but perhaps it is bi-modal. So you have a large amount of lower scores counteracting the 170s?


You are absolutely correct.

Just did some additional math, Same percentage of AA's score above 170 as everyone else, BUT only 12% score above 150. (Assuming the numbers are remotely correct in the video)



I think his numbers are completely out to lunch. I don't know when this lecture was recorded, or which cycle he's talking about, but at least going back to 2005, there have never been fewer than 11,000 African-American LSAT takers in a cycle, often significantly more. He also said that 153 is the AA median, which isn't correct either - again going back to 2005, the AA median has always been right around 142.

Lastly, there's no possible way for "about 900" AA takers to come in above the median, when he also says there were 7,000 AA takers. The number above the median in that case *has to* be 3,500 - that's what "median" means.

ETA - I haven't watched the whole video; he may be talking about 153 being the mean for ALL takers, which would be about right. But even so, if you've only got ~900 AA takers breaking 153, I'm extremely skeptical that 125-150 of those would be over 170.

If you take the 2011-2012 numbers (the most recent I could find), the AA mean is 141.84, and the standard deviation is 8.68. If the AA scores are anywhere NEAR normally-distributed, there aren't 125-150 scoring over 170; it's more like 10, if that many.
Last edited by ScottRiqui on Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby kershka » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:03 am

JUCO wrote:
kershka wrote:
lawschool22 wrote: could you please just humor me and tell me whether or not you are a reverse splitter?

FTFY

Also, this whole thread is ridiculous. GPA really cannot replace the sheer usefulness of the LSAT as a standard measure used to compare applicants directly. Perhaps an argument could be made that LSAT should be improved to somehow be more predictive than it currently is, but GPA just isn't anywhere near as useful; there are way too many variables. That's not to say GPA is useless; there's a reason that it is the second most important part of every application. It just isn't as useful as a standarized test because it's not standardized. I say this as someone with a 4.0 who really wishes that 4.0=180 in adcomms' minds.



An argument within this thread is ridiculous... I think the general discussion about the video is pretty interesting.

That's true and I agree. Unfortunately, this thread got derailed really early on so there was very little actual discussion about the content of the video. I didn't have time to finish watching the video but what I saw was fascinating. There have been a lot of different studies about how standardized tests are (unintentionally) skewed to favor certain groups and thus there are considerable score gaps.

I appreciated the background on the LSAT; I really didn't know about any of that.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby kershka » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:05 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
JUCO wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:
JUCO wrote:This was a great video, really interesting stuff. Makes me wish I would have paid more attention in statistics class three years ago.

I think he said that only 150 African Americans score above a 170... Of 7,000.

If you do the math, that is 2% of AA test takers, which would put them in the 98th percentile of AA test takers, which is the exact SAME for everyone else... 170 is the 98th percentile for EVERYONE. Can someone elaborate on this?

How is there a 10 point drop in average test scores for AA, yet they have the same percentage scoring above 170?


I have no data on this, but perhaps it is bi-modal. So you have a large amount of lower scores counteracting the 170s?


You are absolutely correct.

Just did some additional math, Same percentage of AA's score above 170 as everyone else, BUT only 12% score above 150. (Assuming the numbers are remotely correct in the video)



I think his numbers are completely out to lunch. I don't know when this lecture was recorded, or which cycle he's talking about, but at least going back to 2005, there have never been fewer than 11,000 African-American LSAT takers in a cycle, often significantly more. He also said that 153 is the AA median, which isn't correct either - again going back to 2005, the AA median has always been right around 142.

Lastly, there's no possible way for "about 900" AA takers to come in above the median, when he also says there were 7,000 AA takers. The number above the median in that case *has to* be 3,500 - that's what "median" means.


What part of the video are you talking about? I'm guessing (pending the time stamp so I can listen to his exact words) that he is talking about the number of AAs over the total median of all test takers rather than the AA median. I think the overall median score is 154, so he would be claiming that about 900 AA takers score over that 154.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby lawschool22 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:09 am

kershka wrote:That's true and I agree. Unfortunately, this thread got derailed really early on so there was very little actual discussion about the content of the video. I didn't have time to finish watching the video but what I saw was fascinating. There have been a lot of different studies about how standardized tests are (unintentionally) skewed to favor certain groups and thus there are considerable score gaps.

I appreciated the background on the LSAT; I really didn't know about any of that.


The interesting thing that he talked about though is how the LSAT isn't skewed, because of all the experimental testing they do by demographic group. So it is something other than the test itself. It also isn't money related, since the gap is the same at every level of the socioeconomic spectrum. Interesting to think about and research.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:14 am

kershka wrote:
What part of the video are you talking about? I'm guessing (pending the time stamp so I can listen to his exact words) that he is talking about the number of AAs over the total median of all test takers rather than the AA median. I think the overall median score is 154, so he would be claiming that about 900 AA takers score over that 154.


I'm talking about the 34:30 part that was referenced a few posts back. I edited my last post when I realized that he was probably using 153 as the mean for ALL takers, not just AA. I still don't think it's possible that out of 7,000 AA takers, you would only have 900 over 153, but 125-150 of those 900 being above 170. And that still doesn't explain where he got 7,000 to begin with; there haven't been anywhere near that few AA takers in a cycle going back to at least 2005.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby kershka » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:16 am

lawschool22 wrote:
kershka wrote:That's true and I agree. Unfortunately, this thread got derailed really early on so there was very little actual discussion about the content of the video. I didn't have time to finish watching the video but what I saw was fascinating. There have been a lot of different studies about how standardized tests are (unintentionally) skewed to favor certain groups and thus there are considerable score gaps.

I appreciated the background on the LSAT; I really didn't know about any of that.


The interesting thing that he talked about though is how the LSAT isn't skewed, because of all the experimental testing they do by demographic group. So it is something other than the test itself. It also isn't money related, since the gap is the same at every level of the socioeconomic spectrum. Interesting to think about and research.

I don't have the studies on hand but the bias is actually often internal. For example, women who are asked their gender on a test before taking it tend to do worse than men whereas, when they are not asked this question, they perform identically to their male counterparts. The same is true for African Americans to white test takers. Asians often do better on standardized math tests if they are asked their race than their white counterparts, but perform equally well if that question is not asked. It's an interesting phenomenon. It's attributed to subconscious, societal biases. Essentially different groups sabotage themselves. I'll see if I can find that study; it was a fascinating read. We covered it extensively in a couple of my UG courses.

This is (tentatively) supported on the LSAT by the fact that test-takers who don't answer the demographic information tend to score higher overall than any other group.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby JUCO » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:22 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
kershka wrote:
What part of the video are you talking about? I'm guessing (pending the time stamp so I can listen to his exact words) that he is talking about the number of AAs over the total median of all test takers rather than the AA median. I think the overall median score is 154, so he would be claiming that about 900 AA takers score over that 154.


I'm talking about the 34:30 part that was referenced a few posts back. I edited my last post when I realized that he was probably using 153 as the mean for ALL takers, not just AA. I still don't think it's possible that out of 7,000 AA takers, you would only have 900 over 153, but 125-150 of those 900 being above 170. And that still doesn't explain where he got 7,000 to begin with; there haven't been anywhere near that few AA takers in a cycle going back to at least 2005.


He was chair elect of the LSAC from 2001 to 2003. His data could be accurate for that time range.
Also he did mention that he couldn't really remember all of the numbers. Maybe he was just making it up to make a point.

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Re: Alex Johnson, UVA Professor discusses problems w/ LSAT

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:22 am

Check out this report from LSAC. On page 24, it gives score distribution curves for all the reported ethnicities for the 2011-2012 year (scaled score from 120-180 on the horizontal axis, and percentage of the group who achieved that score on the vertical axis).

The number of AA takers scoring 170+ is virtually zero, which agrees closely with what you'd expect with a mean of ~142 and a standard deviation of ~8.7.




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