why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

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estefanchanning

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why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:20 pm

Kind of bullshit if you ask me. Even more b.s. that, if you pass, you're not given a copy of your essays? (at least in CA this is the rule)

Is there a reason for this other than to disguise dishonest and shady grading practices by the CA Bar? :|

nixy

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:28 pm

Seeing them before you find out if you’ve passed is a terrible idea for everyone’s mental health. It’s also no different from any other standardized test (intellectual property rights, security, etc).

And you don’t have any need to see them after you’ve passed. If you passed, whatever you got on the essays is completely irrelevant. Who cares how it was graded if you pass? It only matters if you don’t pass.

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:40 pm

nixy wrote:Seeing them before you find out if you’ve passed is a terrible idea for everyone’s mental health. It’s also no different from any other standardized test (intellectual property rights, security, etc).

And you don’t have any need to see them after you’ve passed. If you passed, whatever you got on the essays is completely irrelevant. Who cares how it was graded if you pass? It only matters if you don’t pass.


People who passed can sell their collectively passing essays w/MBE score to future takers, which could provide very insightful data. Honestly the only reason I see for withholding this info is if the CA Bar itself has inconsistent grading, and therefore doesn't want to show how passing essays look in fear that they're worse than non-passing essays that were graded by harsher attorneys.

nixy

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:09 pm

You can get why no state bar association wants test takers to sell their essays, right?

This is really so not worth worrying about in any way.

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:20 pm

nixy wrote:You can get why no state bar association wants test takers to sell their essays, right?

This is really so not worth worrying about in any way.


You're right but I have nothing better to do today. :mrgreen:

Nightcrawler

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby Nightcrawler » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:55 am

estefanchanning wrote:Kind of bullshit if you ask me. Even more b.s. that, if you pass, you're not given a copy of your essays? (at least in CA this is the rule)

Is there a reason for this other than to disguise dishonest and shady grading practices by the CA Bar? :|


In my opinion, no. Diminishing their accountability is the only reason for them to be this secretive. It would definitely help to have your essays before you know whether you passed (maybe to decide whether to start studying right away or not), and that's exactly why they don't want you to see them. They don't want you to pass. Pure and simple. If they did, the exam would be more reasonable. It's amazing reading stories from states other than CA where people are like "chill, as long as you get 60% on the MBE and fart on the essays, you pass". For us, you need to get a really badass score on the written, get (mostly) all easy questions on the MBE right PLUS a really good chunck of WTF questions right and only then maybe you'll get a 1440.

For the essays (and score) of people who passed at least they are not hurting the person who passed. Still, they are hurting all those who would benefit from seeing those essays. It amazes me how this hazing ritual works. Would allowing 10% more lawyers into practice really be that bad?

nixy

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:09 pm

It absolutely would not help you to have your essays back before you know if you’ve passed. It would only make you certifiably insane because you would go back through and obsess over every error and research what was correct and speculate about what this means for your grade/whether you’ve passed. It would be agonizing.

It’s obviously important to have the essays if you fail, but until/unless you fail it is a huge waste of mental/emotional energy to go through that process. Seriously. It would not help in the tiniest bit.

(Getting your essays back after you pass, eh, I think it’s pointless because you don’t need to care at that point, and I don’t think they’d really add much for other takers. But that’s a little more arguable than being able to access them before you get your score.)

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby SFSpartan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:49 pm

I don't know why you would want your essays after you'd passed. It wouldn't help you any and employers could (and, given this profession's obsession with brass rings, probably would) ask for your scores. That also wouldn't help anyone. At this point, you've taken the bar, and so should just chill.

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:55 pm

This topic has gotten interesting. Does it matter why some people would want their essays back? I highly doubt the state bar is withholding essays because they care about our well-being (lmao)

The question of *why* we don't get access is different from *should* we get access. Reasonable minds can disagree about the latter, but I think there's only one answer for the former.

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:48 pm

I think the idea that the bar withholds the essays purely to screw over applicants is a little post-exam paranoia, honestly. I get that they don’t care if it does, but I don’t think that’s the purpose.

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:53 pm

Perhaps not to screw with applicants. But to cover up shady practices? Highly likely.

nixy

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:56 pm

What are they doing that’s “shady” that’s not equally well explained by incompetence?

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:05 pm

Wildly inconsistent essay grading and potentially inconsistent scaling of scores are the two I can think of.

Our theories are not mutually exclusive. Yes low pass rate can be attributed to incompetence. But there is no reason to be so secretive about the grading other than to hide Bar Grading incompetence. I can't think of one realistic benevolent reason why the bar isn't more transparent.

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby SFSpartan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:22 pm

Not getting why you've jumped off a conspiracy theory-like deep end here. I don't think the Cal Bar is keeping essays from passing applicants because there's something amiss with the Bar's grading practices. More than likely, it's simply less expensive to keep/destroy the essays of passing applicants, rather than to ensure all essays are returned.

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:38 pm

SFSpartan wrote:Not getting why you've jumped off a conspiracy theory-like deep end here. I don't think the Cal Bar is keeping essays from passing applicants because there's something amiss with the Bar's grading practices. More than likely, it's simply less expensive to keep/destroy the essays of passing applicants, rather than to ensure all essays are returned.


The state bar attempting to insulate themselves from liability isn't a conspiracy theory...it's highly likely, honestly. A conspiracy theory is thinking the NCBE purposely words their questions to suppress POC from practicing law (lol).

1) CA bar doesn't release model answers. They release sample essays, but even then they don't give the score. So the essay could've received 0-95. The only guarantee is that the essay came from a person who passed the bar. They could easily give us the essay's score or post model answers.
2) CA bar doesn't release cut sheets/show how points are broken down. Posting a 1-page point breakdown for each essay isn't too much to ask for.
3) Releasing essays is not a cost issue. They charge a ton of money for us to take the bar, so they can afford to give us the essays back. If it is cost prohibitive, they can setup a self-sustaining service to charge for essay distribution. But frankly, all that's necessary is for Examplify to give us a unique decryption key and we would be able to easily view our essays in a matter of seconds.

To note, I have no agenda. I took the bar for the first time a few weeks ago and I'm waiting for my results. It just seems very odd to me that the CA bar is so secretive when it's mission is to admit "competent lawyers." This process is shrouded in mystery and it's strange that people think it's a necessary evil to maintain the integrity of the profession?

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby SFSpartan » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:25 pm

I called your responses "conspiracy theory-like", because you're assuming the Cal Bar is doing something shady, when this could all easily be explained by incompetence. In any event, I'm not aware of any jurisdiction that returns essays to passing applicants, so this could also just be a custom, rather than some sort of cover up.

Also, since you seem to think the state bar is trying to insulate itself from liability, what would the potential cause of action be here?

In any case, you should really stop thinking about the Bar and enjoy yourself. November will come soon enough.

nixy

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:49 pm

Yeah, I don’t think any jurisdiction returns essays either. It’s probably a holdover from when they were all written by hand and they probably had to keep them to maintain proof that you’d taken the test (and would have had to mail everyone back their tests, which would cost a ton in time and money).

Also they can’t give a real person’s essays with a real score. Confidentiality.

A point breakdown is simply going to INVITE grading appeals and the vast majority of those are going to be frivolous. Hell, there are probably people out there who’d challenge grading on an essay when they passed because they’d be incensed they didn’t get as high a grade as they hoped. They show them to you if you fail; if you pass, it doesn’t matter.

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby dabigchina » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:50 pm

estefanchanning wrote:
1) CA bar doesn't release model answers. They release sample essays, but even then they don't give the score. So the essay could've received 0-95. The only guarantee is that the essay came from a person who passed the bar. They could easily give us the essay's score or post model answers.


I'm pretty sure the two sample essays they release are the two highest scoring essays for each question. They scored 100.

As to why they don't release answers back - it's probably a matter of not wanting to bear the cost. That being said, I'm sure there is a lot of inconsistency in essay grading.

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby Nightcrawler » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:15 pm

estefanchanning wrote:3) Releasing essays is not a cost issue. They charge a ton of money for us to take the bar, so they can afford to give us the essays back. If it is cost prohibitive, they can setup a self-sustaining service to charge for essay distribution. But frankly, all that's necessary is for Examplify to give us a unique decryption key and we would be able to easily view our essays in a matter of seconds.


I understand where you are coming from but I disagree and this is why. Let's assume that their purpose is to limit access to the profession (ie: fail as many applicants as possible). And this is obvious at this point. I won't even explain why it's not a test of minimum competence because we all know why (especially protectionists who are in denial).

Anyway, if their purpose is to fail people (and earn a living in the meanwhile - $20M/year only with Bar Exam fees, not counting anything else like attorney year fees), they are never, EVER doing anything that is even minimally expensive (even .001 cent per applicant), nor anything that could help you pass. Ever. The trend is quite the opposite: reducing the duration of the exam from 3 to 2 days (that saved them $1-2M/year, check their memo), adding subjects, limiting more and more access to performance information (eg: raw MBE score), not hiring enough graders which means you have to wait 4 months for the results, etc.

So, I agree that with the Examplify key we could access our written portion. Those files are on our laptops. Why would they do it? It would help some of us (again, even if some say it wouldn't help, I would find it useful to see whether to start studying right away or wait because my essays don't suck), so that's against their interest. In addition, even sending a single email to us or printing the password anywhere (badge, instructions, anywhere) would cost them. Little to zero, but it's more expensive than doing nothing and watch us fail.


nixy wrote:Yeah, I don’t think any jurisdiction returns essays either. It’s probably a holdover from when they were all written by hand and they probably had to keep them to maintain proof that you’d taken the test (and would have had to mail everyone back their tests, which would cost a ton in time and money).

Also they can’t give a real person’s essays with a real score. Confidentiality.


I'm pretty sure that (1) we waive than confidentiality when we apply for the exam - I actually remember reading it in the application, and (2) it still would be cheaper to give us access to the Examplify encripted essays instead of printing and snail-mailing the essays to the unsuccessful applicants. Those who handwrite are a small percentage of the applicants so they would still save money if they did what I said above and scan/return the handwritten ones. The truth is just that they don't care.

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:04 pm

I'm pretty sure that (1) we waive than confidentiality when we apply for the exam - I actually remember reading it in the application

If you think the exam isn't confidential, go ask them if you can go look at someone else's answers.

Finally,
Nightcrawler wrote:(again, even if some say it wouldn't help, I would find it useful to see whether to start studying right away or wait because my essays don't suck)

You absolutely aren't in a position to judge that at this point. You don't grade the exam. You don't know what their standard is. You still won't know whether to study right away or wait (and frankly you shouldn't start studying until you get the score because if you passed it's a waste of time and even if you fail, starting to study right after taking the exam when you're burned out is really not going to help you 7 months later).
Last edited by nixy on Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

nixy

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:06 pm

Nightcrawler wrote:I understand where you are coming from but I disagree and this is why. Let's assume that their purpose is to limit access to the profession (ie: fail as many applicants as possible). And this is obvious at this point. I won't even explain why it's not a test of minimum competence because we all know why (especially protectionists who are in denial).

Just to address this - of course the exam is about gatekeeping. That doesn't mean they're keeping your essays from your in some kind of shady attempt to protect themselves from suit against...? (It's still about minimum competence. No one comes out of the bar prepared to actually practice law.)

estefanchanning

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby estefanchanning » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:07 am

nixy wrote:
Nightcrawler wrote:I understand where you are coming from but I disagree and this is why. Let's assume that their purpose is to limit access to the profession (ie: fail as many applicants as possible). And this is obvious at this point. I won't even explain why it's not a test of minimum competence because we all know why (especially protectionists who are in denial).

Just to address this - of course the exam is about gatekeeping. That doesn't mean they're keeping your essays from your in some kind of shady attempt to protect themselves from suit against...? (It's still about minimum competence. No one comes out of the bar prepared to actually practice law.)


By attempting to de facto regulate supply and demand, the CA bar is overstepping their duties to "admit competent lawyers." Access to essays would tend to show that the inconsistent grading and curving is the bar's way of suppressing entrance I to the legal market (i.e., de facto market regulation).

This is beyond the scope of their delegated duties.

Truthfully, I also think making a test so difficult without adequately monitoring law school admission is a violation of due process.

You can even argue suppression of free speech because you can't file certain documents in court without actually being a lawyer. If we apply strict scrutiny or intermediate scrutiny, I doubt the bar can prove their methods are "narrowly tailored" or "directly related" to any purpose.

So *is there* a cause of action? I personally think so. But will it succeed? Idk. But at minimum I believe it will cause change.

K I'm gonna take your advice and not think about the bar until results. <3

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby nixy » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:29 am

Where did you get the language that the purpose of the bar is to “admit competent lawyers”? I can’t find that anywhere. The purpose of the state bar association is to govern admissions standards (also, who delegates their duties to them and what is the language of that delegation?).

They don’t have to grade inconsistently to limit entry into the market - they can just set a high cut-off score (which of course they do). Not sure how grading inconsistently would even help them regulate the market bc inconsistent grading would also let some people pass who shouldn’t.

And I really really disagree that there are any due process or free speech claims here. Like could not disagree more.

In any case, although it sucks, go try to enjoy your time no longer taking the bar and don’t let it take up any more of your emotional energy!

Nightcrawler

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Re: why can't we view our essays after we upload them to the bar?

Postby Nightcrawler » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:04 pm

nixy wrote:
I'm pretty sure that (1) we waive than confidentiality when we apply for the exam - I actually remember reading it in the application

If you think the exam isn't confidential, go ask them if you can go look at someone else's answers.

Finally,
Nightcrawler wrote:(again, even if some say it wouldn't help, I would find it useful to see whether to start studying right away or wait because my essays don't suck)

You absolutely aren't in a position to judge that at this point. You don't grade the exam. You don't know what their standard is. You still won't know whether to study right away or wait (and frankly you shouldn't start studying until you get the score because if you passed it's a waste of time and even if you fail, starting to study right after taking the exam when you're burned out is really not going to help you 7 months later).


Yes, we can't just go ask them applicant's essays, but they could allow that. Also, I don't know how it would violate confidentiality to release the score of the selected answers as there's no way to identify the name of the writer of such essay.

For your reference, this is what we sign on the application form:

California Bar Exam Application Form, page 5 wrote:3.10 I authorize the State Bar of California to publish any of my examination answers, if selected, and understand that any
selected answers will be published without identifying information as to the writer/author.

I further authorize the Committee of Bar Examiners to grant to such persons or entities as the Committee chooses
permission to publish such as my examination answers as the Committee selects. I understand I will not be
compensated for publication of my answers by either the Committee of Bar Examiners or such persons or entities to
whom the Committee grants a license.




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