2015 February California Bar Exam

WonderWoman
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby WonderWoman » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:42 pm

LawJunky wrote:Hello.

The bar examiners have posted the essay questions (not the answers) from the Feb 2015 exam. Seems like they have been published the questions somewhat early.
Best of luck to all test takers.

http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/4/documents/gbx/February2015CBX_Questions_R.pdf

Law Junky


It does seem early. If I recall correctly, they posted the July CBX questions about a month before the scores were due out. It probably doesn't mean anything.

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LawJunky
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby LawJunky » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:57 pm

s1m4 wrote:So from what I read, the curve in February historically makes it much more difficult to pass. Apparently, this is because the number of strong MBE test takers in July push the score up.

However, based on my calculation from the Feb 2014 results @ https://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portal ... 201402.pdf, it seems I would have passed in February 2014 with my July 2014 score! (1420 in July would have been 1444 in February!!) So there is hope for us yet!!!

Anyone care to dispute my numbers???


I don't dispute your numbers, i just don't understand how you got there. Please explain as I also scored a 1420 in July. It is my understanding that the curve is easier in February because all of the strong students in the May graduation pool drive a more difficult curve in July, and their absence in February results in an easier curve in Feb.

I also saw that the repeater pass rate was about 40% in Feb 2014, but only 15% in July 2014. So I am interested in hearing your logic on why it would be more difficult to pass in Feb. Further, I watched a video by Bob Hull of Barbri and he stated that it was easier to pass if Feb due to the reasons i just stated.

Thanks and good luck.

s1m4
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:11 pm

LawJunky wrote:
s1m4 wrote:So from what I read, the curve in February historically makes it much more difficult to pass. Apparently, this is because the number of strong MBE test takers in July push the score up.

However, based on my calculation from the Feb 2014 results @ https://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portal ... 201402.pdf, it seems I would have passed in February 2014 with my July 2014 score! (1420 in July would have been 1444 in February!!) So there is hope for us yet!!!

Anyone care to dispute my numbers???


I don't dispute your numbers, i just don't understand how you got there. Please explain as I also scored a 1420 in July. It is my understanding that the curve is easier in February because all of the strong students in the May graduation pool drive a more difficult curve in July, and their absence in February results in an easier curve in Feb.

I also saw that the repeater pass rate was about 40% in Feb 2014, but only 15% in July 2014. So I am interested in hearing your logic on why it would be more difficult to pass in Feb. Further, I watched a video by Bob Hull of Barbri and he stated that it was easier to pass if Feb due to the reasons i just stated.

Thanks and good luck.


The most convincing argument which Ive read as to why it is more difficult to pass the Feb test is because Cali scales their written scores to the MBA scores. So, if there is a big disparity between (low) essay scores, and higher MBE scores, then the essays are graded higher to push up the mean to the higher MBE score. So, in July you have a lot of stronger MBE takers (new recent grads), so in general the MBE score will be significantly higher in July than in Feb, thus, essay scores are pushed up higher to match the higher MBE numbers. However, this phenomenon doesn't occurin Feb because in general, MBE scores are on average lower (for all the factors you stated), and thus the essay scores aren't pushed up to match the higher MBE scores. For this reason, you need a higher raw written score to pass. However, the problem is that I haven't actually been able to locate any data to try to figure this out on my own.

That aside, I read that the february curve was, in general, "harder", and read a bunch of posts from people saying that, after they re-took and failed in february, they would have passed with the scores they failed with in February, if they got those scores in July.

Anyway, so I was only able to get the scale data (for writing only) from Feb 2014, July 2014, and Feb 2011.


(Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400 July 2014.
(Raw written score x 2.8372) – 311.0880 Feb 2011.
(Raw written score x 3.1584) – 460.6635 Feb 2014.

- Feb 2011 had a horrible scale, and you would have horribly failed with scores which you passed with in July 14 or Feb 14, (confirming that Feb is a harder scale)
- July 2014 was the medium scale.
- Feb 2014 was a very easy written scale.

It would be nice if we could get some more data points from prior February takers.

You can read about how to calculate your score here: https://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portal ... 201402.pdf

I suggest using an excel sheet, since it makes everything very easy and you can play around with it.

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LawJunky
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby LawJunky » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:46 pm

Nice analysis.

My feeling is that the essays in July 2014 were quite a bit more difficult than what we saw in Feb 2015. I seem to be the only one having that opinion, of those I have heard express an opinion. I thought Feb 2015 essays were significantly easier.

But if the Feb 2011 curve was so tough, I guess you are saying that the MBE must have been low that year. I don't see the logic why they would make the curve for the essays harder if the MBE scores were lower. I guess they are saying that the group is less able and we must punish them with a more difficult essay curve. Seems backwards to me. I would just like to be graded based on my own scores.

I scored 1710 on the July MBE. I figured there was no chance of scoring that high in Feb with the onset of Civpro. The MBE felt pretty difficult in Feb 2015, a bit more difficult than July. I heard plenty of people say that the Feb MBE was easier than July, and I tend to disbelieve that. I knew a couple people who told me the July 2014 afternoon session was easy, and I knew they were wrong, and they did in fact get crushed when grades were released. So I don't believe the rhetoric about the Feb MBE being easy, or easier than last July.

Here is a question for you and the board in general. I have heard that I might get a different set of MBE questions in the morning than the person sitting next to me. I might get test A of 100 questions in the morning, and my neighbor gets test B. Then in the afternoon, I get test B and my neighbor gets test A. But I say this is not possible because it would be too easy for inadvertent cheating to occur during the lunch break when we are all conversing about the morning session. It is my belief that we must all get same MBE test A in the morning and the same MBE test B in the afternoon. What do you think?

Look at this Barbri free video about the July 2014 exam. Start at the 6 minute mark and listen for 4 minutes. This is where Bob Hull says that the curve in July is more difficult then Feb and is encouraging repeaters to repeat in Feb versus waiting until July to repeat. He bases his opinion about an easier Feb curve on the subjectivity of the grader versus statistical analysis.

http://www.barbri.com/states/california/product/free-review-br-of-ca-bar-br-exam.jsp

Thank you and good luck.

Law Junky

s1m4
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:37 pm

I think the essays were indeed easier, but the PTs were significantly harder (at least for me). Also, we had that curve-ball of having no PR.

To your statement: "I don't see the logic why they would make the curve for the essays harder if the MBE scores were lower."

I think that their mentality and approach is just different. The official mentality of the bar examiners may be that because the essays are lower compared to the MBE in july, the essays must have been disproportionately harder, and thus must be pushed up to meet the higher (but not harder) MBE. However, in Feb, the discrepancy between MBE and essays is lower, so they feel they dont need to push essays up because compared to the MBE the essays were not much lower.

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LawJunky
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby LawJunky » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:46 pm

WonderWoman wrote:
It does seem early. If I recall correctly, they posted the July CBX questions about a month before the scores were due out. It probably doesn't mean anything.


Hmmm.. Maybe it means that the scores will be released early. We can only hope for another curveball, after they threw a curveball by not asking us to write a PR essay .

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Elms
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby Elms » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:36 pm

PennJD83 wrote:I surprisingly remembered most of the facts in the questions....well except PTA and Question 6. I made sure to forget them as soon as the exam was over haha.


Ha.... I'm not even going to look. It will just make me nervous/upset about things I think I missed!

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reasonable troll
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby reasonable troll » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:34 pm

Elms wrote:
PennJD83 wrote:I surprisingly remembered most of the facts in the questions....well except PTA and Question 6. I made sure to forget them as soon as the exam was over haha.


Ha.... I'm not even going to look. It will just make me nervous/upset about things I think I missed!


agreed.

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L’Étranger
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:27 pm

Anyone able to breakdown for me what the paragraph below actually means (preferably with examples)? --Thx.

"The Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) utilizes a grading procedure designed to ensure the difficulty of passing the examination remains unchanged from one administration of the examination to another. The statistical technique, called scaling, converts scores on the written portion (essay questions and PTs) to the same scale of measurement as the MBE. MBE raw scores are converted to scale scores to adjust the results for possible differences in average question difficulty across different administrations of the examination. As a result of this step, a given MBE scale score indicates the same level of proficiency regardless of the administration of the examination on which it was earned. Converting the total written raw scores to the same scale of measurement as the MBE adjusts for possible differences in average question difficulty and Grader performance across different administrations of the examination."

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a male human
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:56 am

L’Étranger wrote:Anyone able to breakdown for me what the paragraph below actually means (preferably with examples)? --Thx.

"The Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) utilizes a grading procedure designed to ensure the difficulty of passing the examination remains unchanged from one administration of the examination to another. The statistical technique, called scaling, converts scores on the written portion (essay questions and PTs) to the same scale of measurement as the MBE. MBE raw scores are converted to scale scores to adjust the results for possible differences in average question difficulty across different administrations of the examination. As a result of this step, a given MBE scale score indicates the same level of proficiency regardless of the administration of the examination on which it was earned. Converting the total written raw scores to the same scale of measurement as the MBE adjusts for possible differences in average question difficulty and Grader performance across different administrations of the examination."

The bar is a standardized test. Standardized means, in my own words, that the results of each administration are easily interchangeable. So a score of 1440.0000 from 10 years ago is is theoretically the same level of performance as 1440.0000 from today. It's easier to compare the scores across each test.

However, the difficulty of each test varies. Graders vary over administrations and during the grading period and across essays. They can't make a test that's exactly the same difficulty, unless each test has the same questions and same conditions. So they need statisticians to scale the raw scores into scaled scores.

Raw scores are what the graders give you, e.g., 65 on your essay (or 125 on your MBE). You could say this score is standardized internally within the brotherhood of bar graders, particularly through their calibration process. A 65 given to one examinee's Essay 1 is theoretically the same level of performance as another examinee's Essay 1. I believe they calibrate for each essay, so a 65 on Essay 2 isn't necessarily as good or bad, which makes sense because there is no reliable way to compare two essays.

Scaled scores are what written raw scores are converted into. You can't look at your 125/200 raw MBE score and add or compare that to your 65. That's like trying to open a Word document with Paint.

It doesn't matter because whether a bar grader was high while grading your essay because like the law, we apply utilitarian assumptions: Using the miracle of statistical analysis, your total written raw score can be plugged into a post hoc calculated formula that is unique to each administration, based on difficulty, performance of examinees and/or what the graders had for breakfast. These contingencies are baked into the formula, and the output thereof is the scaled written score. Now it's compatible with your MBE score! Now it's like opening a file with Adobe Reader—both documents containing words or images can be understood with one program (grossly simplified example, deal with it).

BTW, the formula looks suspiciously like, and is in fact, a simple linear equation (y = mx + b). Maybe they just gather all the scores and plot them and wiggle the graph around until they feel guilty about not letting enough people pass. But don't question them because they know more about statistics than either of us here.

You might notice a raw score differs by a large, lockstep amount in steps of 5 (or 2.5 if averaged--which is a gripe I'll save for another day), while a scaled score is more continuous and fluid to the several significant figures (i.e., lots of decimal numbers make it more accurate). This helps better compare the scaled scores across administrations.

Anyway, after that it is a simple matter of considering the weight of each section. Written is 65%, and MBE is 35%, so multiply each scaled score with the percentages and add them up to get a total scaled score that captures your total performance with 1 number rather than: "Here are 8 written scores and 1 MBE score."

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LawJunky
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby LawJunky » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:05 am

a male human wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Now it's compatible with your MBE score!


Nice explanation. But are my essay scores compatible with my MBE score, or everyone's averaged MBE score?

Thank you

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a male human
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:20 am

LawJunky wrote:
a male human wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Now it's compatible with your MBE score!


Nice explanation. But are my essay scores compatible with my MBE score, or everyone's averaged MBE score?

Thank you

They are compatible with your MBE score but will also work if you put in someone else's MBE score. I forgot to mention these MBE scores are also scaled in their own way so that a score represents the same condition for each administration (with varying difficulty and number of omitted questions, etc.). Scaling does not average everyone's MBE score.

You can't have a composite score with your raw written score (60, 65...) with your raw MBE score (121, 137...) until they are in the same quantitative "unit." If you have two bank accounts each containing dollars or pesos and you want to run away to a European Union member state, you'd have to convert it all to euros first. Or maybe some fruit stands take glorious American dollar. Who cares, the bar sucks

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L’Étranger
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:32 pm

a male human wrote:
LawJunky wrote:
a male human wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Now it's compatible with your MBE score!


Nice explanation. But are my essay scores compatible with my MBE score, or everyone's averaged MBE score?

Thank you

They are compatible with your MBE score but will also work if you put in someone else's MBE score. I forgot to mention these MBE scores are also scaled in their own way so that a score represents the same condition for each administration (with varying difficulty and number of omitted questions, etc.). Scaling does not average everyone's MBE score.

You can't have a composite score with your raw written score (60, 65...) with your raw MBE score (121, 137...) until they are in the same quantitative "unit." If you have two bank accounts each containing dollars or pesos and you want to run away to a European Union member state, you'd have to convert it all to euros first. Or maybe some fruit stands take glorious American dollar. Who cares, the bar sucks


Hey Male Human, I appreciate your response, but I was looking for something more specific.

Here are my assumptions based on my understanding:

1) A harder MBE means a greater amount of numerical movement in terms of scaling the raw MBE scores.
2) The written portion of the bar exam is scaled to the exact same degree as the MBE is scaled (i.e. the same amount of numerical movement as the MBE).

Conclusion: A harder MBE (which is numerically moved to a greater degree) leads to a bigger boost on written section scores than an easier MBE (which is numerically moved to a lesser degree).

Is my conclusion correct? If so, scaling the written portion based on the MBE seems really dumb to me. The difficulty of the written portion has no connection in my mind to the difficulty of the MBE.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:02 pm

L’Étranger wrote:
a male human wrote:
LawJunky wrote:
a male human wrote:Nice explanation. But are my essay scores compatible with my MBE score, or everyone's averaged MBE score?

Thank you

They are compatible with your MBE score but will also work if you put in someone else's MBE score. I forgot to mention these MBE scores are also scaled in their own way so that a score represents the same condition for each administration (with varying difficulty and number of omitted questions, etc.). Scaling does not average everyone's MBE score.

You can't have a composite score with your raw written score (60, 65...) with your raw MBE score (121, 137...) until they are in the same quantitative "unit." If you have two bank accounts each containing dollars or pesos and you want to run away to a European Union member state, you'd have to convert it all to euros first. Or maybe some fruit stands take glorious American dollar. Who cares, the bar sucks


Hey Male Human, I appreciate your response, but I was looking for something more specific.

Here are my assumptions based on my understanding:

1) A harder MBE means a greater amount of numerical movement in terms of scaling the raw MBE scores.
2) The written portion of the bar exam is scaled to the exact same degree as the MBE is scaled (i.e. the same amount of numerical movement as the MBE).

Conclusion: A harder MBE (which is numerically moved to a greater degree) leads to a bigger boost on written section scores than an easier MBE (which is numerically moved to a lesser degree).

Is my conclusion correct? If so, scaling the written portion based on the MBE seems really dumb to me. The difficulty of the written portion has no connection in my mind to the difficulty of the MBE.


1. What do you mean by numerical movement? For a harder MBE, the scaled score for the same raw score will be higher. A 130 on a hard MBE will scale to a higher score than a 130 on an easy MBE.

2. The written raw does not have the same numerical movement as MBE raw. For example, this is the conversion from raw written to scaled written score for July 2014:

Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400

Essays 1-6 scores + PT-A score x 2 + PT-B score x 2 = raw written score

As you can see there is no relation to MBE scores. You merely combine what you get for the written sections and what you get for the MBE. Going back to the dollar and peso example, you convert dollars (written raw) to euros (written scaled), you convert pesos (MBE raw) to euros (MBE scaled), then you have a bunch of euros (total scaled). You don't look at the MBE to determine written and vice versa. You merely make the scores compatible with each other so that you can get a composite score that reflects the conditions of the entire exam.

Thus, a harder MBE does NOT lead to a bigger score on the written scores. They are independently evaluated (in fact, I believe the NCBE does the nationwide scaling for the MBE, not the State Bar) then later weighted the same every time (65% written, 35% MBE). This weighting also does not matter because no matter how hard the MBE was, the weighted written scaled will not change.

The LSAT and the bar are dumb but not for these reasons. Rest easy that they have other ways to fuck you up, but the scaling methodology itself isn't one to be too concerned about.

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L’Étranger
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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:28 pm

a male human wrote:Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400


Again, much appreciated and I hope that what you are saying is correct, but I want to understand how you got there.

Where does this formula come from? --> Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400

A poster above posted these scale conversions for three different exams.

(Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400 July 2014.
(Raw written score x 2.8372) – 311.0880 Feb 2011.
(Raw written score x 3.1584) – 460.6635 Feb 2014.

Plugging in a raw written score of 600 in each respective year above gets you a 1396 (July 2014), a 1391 (Feb 2011), and a 1434 (Feb 2014).

That's a huge difference between July 2014/Feb 2011 and Feb 2014. A raw score of 600 in Feb 2014 was nearly a passing score.

What causes the difference in the scaling formula from year to year?

The way the passage I quoted above from the California Bar reads to me, the difference in the scaling formula for the written portion is entirely based on the MBE. How does that work?

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:58 pm

L’Étranger wrote:
a male human wrote:Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400


Again, much appreciated and I hope that what you are saying is correct, but I want to understand how you got there.

Where does this formula come from? --> Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400

A poster above posted these scale conversions for three different exams.

(Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400 July 2014.
(Raw written score x 2.8372) – 311.0880 Feb 2011.
(Raw written score x 3.1584) – 460.6635 Feb 2014.

Plugging in a raw written score of 600 in each respective year above gets you a 1396 (July 2014), a 1391 (Feb 2011), and a 1434 (Feb 2014).

That's a huge difference between July 2014/Feb 2011 and Feb 2014. A raw score of 600 in Feb 2014 was nearly a passing score.

What causes the difference in the scaling formula from year to year?

The way the passage I quoted above from the California Bar reads to me, the difference in the scaling formula for the written portion is entirely based on the MBE. How does that work?

The formula I quoted was given here: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals ... 0714_R.pdf

Plugging in 600 raw indeed gives you a different scaled score. That's the purpose of the scaled score. If you compare the 1391 you get in 2011 with the 1434 you get in 2014, the difference tells you that one's raw scores in 2014 are worth more than in 2011. You can also see it like this: If you took the 2011 exam, you would have theoretically gotten a higher raw score compared to 2014 because the 2011 one was easier. This higher raw score from 2011 would have scaled to around 1434, the same as in 2014. It's easier to do better if the test is easier. But the Committee can't make each test the same difficulty, so it adjusts the raw score to reflect that change in difficulty.

A raw of 600 in 2014 was nearly a passing score because it was harder. The raw score of 60 given by the grader indicates you didn't do as well as a 65, but it also means you would have done better if you took it in 2011. If you got a 60 in 2011, then you did worse than the time you got a 60 in 2014. That's what the scaled score tells us. A scaled score of 1434 in one year should be the same level of performance as a scaled score of 1434 in another year.

It's like how curving works in university classes. You might have gotten a 30% on the engineering midterm, but it was so hard that scores ranged from 9-45%. So 30% equates to a B+ or whatever. If you get a 30% on your basketweaving midterm (presumably easier than many disciplines), that's most likely an F.

The passage you quoted says, "The statistical technique, called scaling, converts scores on the written portion (essay questions and PTs) to the same scale of measurement as the MBE." This says raw scores are converted to the same scale as the MBE. This doesn't mean it uses the MBE score to calculate written. It just converts scores to the same scale, same unit, same type of score (euros). The difference in formulae is not based at all on the MBE. It is based on "possible differences in average question difficulty across different administrations of the examination."

IDK if this is helping at all

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:24 pm

a male human wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:
a male human wrote:Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400


Again, much appreciated and I hope that what you are saying is correct, but I want to understand how you got there.

Where does this formula come from? --> Written scaled score = (Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400

A poster above posted these scale conversions for three different exams.

(Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400 July 2014.
(Raw written score x 2.8372) – 311.0880 Feb 2011.
(Raw written score x 3.1584) – 460.6635 Feb 2014.

Plugging in a raw written score of 600 in each respective year above gets you a 1396 (July 2014), a 1391 (Feb 2011), and a 1434 (Feb 2014).

That's a huge difference between July 2014/Feb 2011 and Feb 2014. A raw score of 600 in Feb 2014 was nearly a passing score.

What causes the difference in the scaling formula from year to year?

The way the passage I quoted above from the California Bar reads to me, the difference in the scaling formula for the written portion is entirely based on the MBE. How does that work?

The formula I quoted was given here: http://admissions.calbar.ca.gov/Portals ... 0714_R.pdf

Plugging in 600 raw indeed gives you a different scaled score. That's the purpose of the scaled score. If you compare the 1391 you get in 2011 with the 1434 you get in 2014, the difference tells you that one's raw scores in 2014 are worth more than in 2011. You can also see it like this: If you took the 2011 exam, you would have theoretically gotten a higher raw score compared to 2014 because the 2011 one was easier. This higher raw score from 2011 would have scaled to around 1434, the same as in 2014. It's easier to do better if the test is easier. But the Committee can't make each test the same difficulty, so it adjusts the raw score to reflect that change in difficulty.

A raw of 600 in 2014 was nearly a passing score because it was harder. The raw score of 60 given by the grader indicates you didn't do as well as a 65, but it also means you would have done better if you took it in 2011. If you got a 60 in 2011, then you did worse than the time you got a 60 in 2014. That's what the scaled score tells us. A scaled score of 1434 in one year should be the same level of performance as a scaled score of 1434 in another year.

It's like how curving works in university classes. You might have gotten a 30% on the engineering midterm, but it was so hard that scores ranged from 9-45%. So 30% equates to a B+ or whatever. If you get a 30% on your basketweaving midterm (presumably easier than many disciplines), that's most likely an F.

The passage you quoted says, "The statistical technique, called scaling, converts scores on the written portion (essay questions and PTs) to the same scale of measurement as the MBE." This says raw scores are converted to the same scale as the MBE. This doesn't mean it uses the MBE score to calculate written. It just converts scores to the same scale, same unit, same type of score (euros). The difference in formulae is not based at all on the MBE. It is based on "possible differences in average question difficulty across different administrations of the examination."

IDK if this is helping at all


Yeah. I get the concept. I'm just saying that to convert "to the same scale of measurement as the MBE" means that the written conversion formula and the MBE conversion formula are either the same or otherwise (mysteriously) related.

Thus, hard MBE means a more favorable conversion formula, less hard MBE means less favorable conversion formula.

If what you were saying was true, why would they scale to the MBE at all? They would just curve the written scores entirely independently of the MBE and multiply the curved raw score which is out of 1,000 by two to get a curved written score out of 2,000 points.

That is if what you are saying is true the written conversion would be: [(Raw Written)+writtencurvevalue] x 2

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 3:19 pm

L’Étranger wrote:Yeah. I get the concept. I'm just saying that to convert "to the same scale of measurement as the MBE" means that the written conversion formula and the MBE conversion formula are either the same or otherwise (mysteriously) related.

This is not true. The formula need not be the same or related. You can't add 65 essay points to 120 MBE points. They are different points, like you can't add 4 feet to 2 yards to say they are 6 feet or 6 inches or 6 yards. You need to convert them to the same scale of measurement, such as inches or feet or yards, before you can add them. There are different conversion metrics to convert feet to inches (inches = feet x 12) and feet to yard (yard = feet/3). Same with conversion from raw written to scaled written and raw MBE to scaled MBE.

L’Étranger wrote:Thus, hard MBE means a more favorable conversion formula, less hard MBE means less favorable conversion formula.

Yes, a hard MBE merits a formula that gives you more scaled points. If you got a 100 on one MBE that was super hard, maybe that's equivalent to getting a 130 on an easier test. Let's say on those two hypothetical MBEs, both were converted to 1500 scaled. The examiners want to standardize what a "1500" means across all exams. You can't get a true sense of whether you did better on one MBE because you got a 130 instead of 120 raw; the "true" measurement (or what they will use for grading purposes) is the scaled score that takes into account the conditions of the test (including difficulty).

L’Étranger wrote:If what you were saying was true, why would they scale to the MBE at all? They would just curve the written scores entirely independently of the MBE and multiply the curved raw score which is out of 1,000 by two to get a curved written score out of 2,000 points.

That is if what you are saying is true the written conversion would be: [(Raw Written)+writtencurvevalue] x 2

The written scores ARE curved independently of the MBE. CA does the written; the NCBE (probably) does the MBE. Remember the MBE is nationwide, and each state has its own grading system. The scaled MBE score provides a standard number for each state to work with. CA happens to give the MBE 35% weight in the total score, so you take your total MBE scaled score out of 2000 and multiply it by 35%. Add that to the written scaled score weighted by 65%. You end up with a score out of 2000 total even though each scaled score was out of 2000. Multiplication owns! That has nothing to do with the actual scaling process, though.

How did you get a "curved raw score" (is it curved or raw?) of 1000? Total possible raw points are 1000, yes. If you simply multiply the raw score by two, it's the same as working with the raw scores. The test varies in difficulty each year, so you can't say a raw score of 500 (or if multiply it by 2, 1000) in 2011 is the same as a raw score of 500 (or 1000) in 2014.

What is writtencurvevalue in your equation? Is that the scaled score? That score is already scaled, so there's no need to do more conversions on it.

Am I still confusing you? Anyone else want to chime in?

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:38 pm

a male human wrote:Am I still confusing you? Anyone else want to chime in?


You're not confusing me. I've just been trying to gently point out that while I appreciate you talking this out with me, you have no basis for your assertions regarding how scaling works, and with all due respect, I think you're talking out of your ass (not trying to be a dick to you, because I don't understand it any better myself, but there it is).

For example, your analogy of the conversion of dollars and pasos to euros is not applicable here, because it doesn't explain where the value of the euro comes from.

It is entirely clear what scaling is used for, but how is scaling actually done (i.e. how do you get the euro and how do you convert your dollars and pasos to the euro)?

To convert a raw written score to the same scale of measurement as the MBE," there presumably is some statistical or mathematical method being employed. I'm asking how that method works.

Maybe the method the CA bar uses is proprietary and no one knows exactly. I'm hoping that someone with an interest in statistics might see this and help explain.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:16 pm

Are you asking how they got the equations? They do not disclose the precise methodology of deriving the equations. As you suggest, it's probably a proprietary method. I could offer a rudimentary guess, but that wouldn't resolve the issue here because you want to know the precise truth and no one here knows exactly how they get the formula. What we know is that it is a quantitative adjustment for the difficulty of the exam. Presumably the "difficulty" is based at least on the performance of the examinees.

Sorry if I sounded like I was talking out of my ass. Maybe I inadvertently made some inaccurate statements too (I'm doing this instead of billing hours!). I wasn't trying to bullshit you, honest! However, if I ended up not getting what you were trying to figure out, it was partly because your questions kept changing. I was just answering the questions you asked.

Source: I have an engineering background and took classes in various higher math subjects including statistics and numerical analysis. So things just "made sense" in my head, but maybe I was being delusional. I did note that the statisticians employed by the State Bar are better at this than either of us, so I defer to what they have been doing every half year for decades.

To answer your remnant questions & statements:
- It doesn't explain where the value of the euro comes from: Euros are euros. People have faith in the currency, like examinees believe in that the composite scaled score will determine whether they pass or not. You might be over-complicating this analogy.
- How do you get the euro? This was just an example analogy.
- How do you convert dollars/pesos to euro? There is a currency exchange rate that fluctuates constantly. For the bar, this "exchange rate" is given by the disclosed formula, which changes every administration. I also gave an example of converting feet to inches and yards. It's the same concept.
- "same scale of measurement as the MBE" simply means both the written and MBE scaled scores use the same unit of measurement. I don't know how else to say it. It doesn't mean they're somehow using your MBE score to derive a written score. The formula disclosed in our previous posts, for example, converts the raw written score to the same scale of measurement as the MBE (the scaled MBE score). It converts the raw written score to a score out of 2000--the same scale of measurement as the scaled MBE score.

Here is a particularly illuminating quote from the PDF I linked earlier: "The scores obtained on the written section of the examination are then translated to the 2000-point MBE scale."

In short, only the people involved with the examining know exactly what they look at to get the conversion equation, which converts raw to scaled out of 2000.
Last edited by a male human on Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby s1m4 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:20 pm

^ Can you guys illuminate what the standardization process is based on? Do they get a sample of random bar graders to take the bar, and then adjust the curve to make sure it falls in place with the score from prior years?

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:31 pm

s1m4 wrote:^ Can you guys illuminate what the standardization process is based on? Do they get a sample of random bar graders to take the bar, and then adjust the curve to make sure it falls in place with the score from prior years?

Here is where I will talk out of my ass and offer a guess.

Standardization process will be based on at least these two sets of information:

1. They will look at the performance of ALL the examinees for that administration. For example, what was the average raw written score of everyone who took this test? What were the individual total raw scores? Can we plot this and find a correlation? Can we compare this with prior years?
2. They also have predetermined guidelines as to where people should be. They will have limitations; this explains why pass rates are different in July and Feb and why overall pass rates dropped last time even though the MBE was hard (if the MBE raw scores ranged 20-70, they won't just say oh well I guess this test was too hard let's make the 50 a passing score).

I think they adjust for difficulty within a confined range. Again, this is a total guess just for fun. No one knows for sure.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:33 pm

a male human wrote:In short, only the people involved with the examining know exactly what they look at to get the conversion equation, which converts raw to scaled out of 2000.


Thanks for the kind response. The above is what I figured. I honestly wonder if the folks at the CA Bar are messing with people by implying transparency in their process while not actually being transparent at all.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby a male human » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:49 pm

L’Étranger wrote:
a male human wrote:In short, only the people involved with the examining know exactly what they look at to get the conversion equation, which converts raw to scaled out of 2000.


Thanks for the kind response. The above is what I figured. I honestly wonder if the folks at the CA Bar are messing with people by implying transparency in their process while not actually being transparent at all.

Perhaps most people don't care to know the exact methodology ("i went to law school bc i can't do math haha lol"), so they don't want to waste time explaining it. I would actually be curious.

Maybe those bastards ARE hiding things. Oh well, just beat them at their own game by passing.

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Re: 2015 February California Bar Exam

Postby L’Étranger » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:55 pm

I wanted to try and revive the (hopeless??) statistics discussion above. Here's some more points:

1) A couple of posters on another thread have said that for their state bars the mean MBE scaled score reported for Feb '15 is a 136.

2) According to this graph that I got off the NCBE website, it looks like the Feb '15 mean scaled score ties the lowest mean MBE score in the last ten years.
Image

3) Can we get more written raw score conversions than these three here?
(Raw written score x 3.1098) - 469.4400 July 2014.
(Raw written score x 2.8372) – 311.0880 Feb 2011.
(Raw written score x 3.1584) – 460.6635 Feb 2014.

Would be cool to see if we can start making correlations/conjectures as to whether there is any connection between how the MBE is scaled and how the California essays are scaled. That is, does the low mean scaled score have a good effect, bad effect, or no effect on the amount that the essays are curved.




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