LSAT on paper

schrizto
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LSAT on paper

Postby schrizto » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:57 pm

I know the LSAT is a paper test. It won't change anytime soon, right? I like paper tests, but all the big graduate school exams (GRE, MCAT) seem to have recently changed to computer administrated.

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fathergoose
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby fathergoose » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:03 pm

I think they would have to go through a very long testing period before they began to consider doing something like that. As anal as the lsac is about testing security, I can't imagine they would change over to a computer test unless they were 800% sure there was no way someone could manipulate results.

Plus it might have some effect on how the LSAT correlates to first year success (ie some kid who would have done well on the paper LSAT might bomb the computer version and visa versa)

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typ3
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby typ3 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:04 pm

Logic Games on a computer would suck.

I need my master diagram to succeed in life!!!!11!

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fathergoose
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby fathergoose » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:41 pm

If I couldn't physically cross off answer choices I would have been toast

imchuckbass58
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:47 pm

First off, they give you this dry erase paper to do scratch work on, so you can still diagram and cross off answers.

Second, having taken the GMAT my impression was the overall experience was more secure than the LSAT. No way to go back and change your answers, no way to peek at other people's screens (since no two people get the same test), no way to look ahead, etc. Not to mention they fingerprint you in and out of your cube, so nobody can take the test for you.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby tomwatts » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:09 pm

If they make it adaptive, I quit. No more LSAT teaching for me.

But yeah, there's no public plan in the works to do this. LSAC has thought about it and decided, "Nah."

(If they make it like the MCAT — non-adaptive, you get real scratch paper and not the damn noteboards, you can highlight on-screen and can strikethrough on-screen — then maybe I won't quit.)

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Mroberts3
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby Mroberts3 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:12 pm

"Don't fix it if it ain't broke" seems to work well here.

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HiLine
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby HiLine » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:13 pm

How about the ACT, SAT, SSAT, PSAT on the computer? :shock:

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iShotFirst
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby iShotFirst » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:23 pm

I think the main thing about computer vs paper as far as the LSAT goes is that it is only given four times a year. The other tests you can take any time, there aren't thousands upon thousands of people taking it at once.

They could never find so many computers for everyone to take it the same day, and so we would all have to take it whenever like the GMAT. Then the security of the questions would be compromised, I would imagine, and they wouldnt be able to release people's score reports to them.

The law school admissions process is also a lot different than at least the business school one and the four administrations a year ties in nicely with the law school timetable.

schrizto
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby schrizto » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:43 am

iShotFirst wrote:I think the main thing about computer vs paper as far as the LSAT goes is that it is only given four times a year. The other tests you can take any time, there aren't thousands upon thousands of people taking it at once.

They could never find so many computers for everyone to take it the same day, and so we would all have to take it whenever like the GMAT. Then the security of the questions would be compromised, I would imagine, and they wouldnt be able to release people's score reports to them.

The law school admissions process is also a lot different than at least the business school one and the four administrations a year ties in nicely with the law school timetable.


The MCAT used to be given only a couple times a year until they changed it to computer administrated. Now there's a much greater number of test dates to choose from (probably because they don't have to deal with shipping around different copies of paper exams) so the testing centers don't get clogged with people taking it all on the same day.

That said, I want it to stay a paper exam, so LSAC should stick to being a stubborn old fogie.

albanach
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby albanach » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:20 am

LSAC have just been through a horrendous time with the winter weather and the February test. Still, I don't think that will be their driving factor, cost savings will be behind the move to computer testing.

The cost of the logistics in organizing hundreds of test centers, paying proctors, printing exam papers, shipping them out, getting sheets back and scanning them must be substantial. The ability to replace that with sending a single dvd of questions to prometric, who can then take care of everything else is probably very appealing.

I'd find it hard to believe LSAC are not actively working on this, and we'll see it in action within a few years. I've no idea how much notice they will give when it does happen.

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suspicious android
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby suspicious android » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:29 am

albanach wrote:LSAC have just been through a horrendous time with the winter weather and the February test. Still, I don't think that will be their driving factor, cost savings will be behind the move to computer testing.

I'd find it hard to believe LSAC are not actively working on this, and we'll see it in action within a few years. I've no idea how much notice they will give when it does happen.


The LSAC doesn't really need to maximize profit. There's no evidence they're losing money, and if they do, they can just bump registration fees $10, as they've done in the past. I don't have any hard source, but I have talked to two people who have direct contact with LSAC for purposes of licensing LSAT materials. They claim that LSAC did seriously look into moving to computer adaptive tests a few years back, but decided not to at that time. Who knows why. I was also told that they have a backlog of material that would last several years even if they no longer added to it.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby tomwatts » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:03 am

suspicious android wrote:I don't have any hard source, but I have talked to two people who have direct contact with LSAC for purposes of licensing LSAT materials. They claim that LSAC did seriously look into moving to computer adaptive tests a few years back, but decided not to at that time. Who knows why.

Yeah, this was what I was referring to. I've heard the same rumor, that they looked into it and decided against it. But I, too, lack a real source.
suspicious android wrote:I was also told that they have a backlog of material that would last several years even if they no longer added to it.

This is undoubtedly true. All those experimental sections add up.

schrizto
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby schrizto » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:34 pm

I don't really want to create a new topic for this, but where are LSAT test centers usually? I know the SAT/ACT is held in high schools where there are a lot of desks.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby tomwatts » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:08 pm

Colleges. Often in lecture halls with, as you say, lots of desks.

bp colin
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby bp colin » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:29 pm

schrizto wrote:I don't really want to create a new topic for this, but where are LSAT test centers usually? I know the SAT/ACT is held in high schools where there are a lot of desks.


In bigger cities, they'll often offer them in hotels as well. These are generally not so great. You sometimes get huge ballrooms seating hundreds of people, and all the admin b.s. takes forever. The first time I took the LSAT was at a Holiday Inn in San Francisco like this, and it was terrible. The tables were cramped, the chairs were awful, and with hundreds of people there's a non-stop chorus of shuffling, tapping, people getting up to go to the bathroom, all that. I don't think we started section one until around 11.

Community colleges I've found are often the best bet. They tend not to have huge lecture halls, so they often cordon people off into smaller individual classrooms after you sign in. If it's a newer community college, they tend to also have newer and better desks.

barnum
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby barnum » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:57 pm

LSAC did indeed do significant research in computer testing. Many of the studies are posted right on their website, so this is not so much rumor

http://members.lsac.org/Public/MainPage.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fPrivate%2fMainPage2.aspx

LSAC actually probably has enough data to go to a CAT format tomorrow if they wanted, but they don't want to. The question is not so much cost, logistics, or security as previously suggested. If there was an increase in cost, that would just get passed on to us the test-takers. Logistically, they would outsource the computer test centers the same way all the other companies who have CATs do. Since both LSAC and GMAC have a relationship with PearsonVue, they would probably even use the same test centers. Security is a bit of an issue, but not necessarily any more than it is now. Since clearly the tests get printed and shipped prior to test day administration there are security issues with a paper based test as well, so there might be a security issue with CAT, but that would not be a new concern for LSAC.

The biggest issue would probably be the quality of the exam. In creating 4 LSATs a year, LSAC has to create only 400 legitimate test questions. The likelihood of flawed questions slipping through the cracks is very small. With a CAT, the testing company has to maintain a very large and constantly changing question pool, potentially in the neighborhood of 10,000 questions a year. That is a significant difference that would make it hard to maintain the current level of quality of the LSAT.

As for announcing a change should one ever occur, it would happen well in advance. Certain state laws actually require this notice (I forget whether it is 6 months or a year). So no worries yet.

tomwatts
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby tomwatts » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:42 pm

Aha. There's the source. I hadn't bothered to look at that page. Thanks for that.

schrizto
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Re: LSAT on paper

Postby schrizto » Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:27 am

bp colin wrote:
schrizto wrote:I don't really want to create a new topic for this, but where are LSAT test centers usually? I know the SAT/ACT is held in high schools where there are a lot of desks.


In bigger cities, they'll often offer them in hotels as well. These are generally not so great. You sometimes get huge ballrooms seating hundreds of people, and all the admin b.s. takes forever. The first time I took the LSAT was at a Holiday Inn in San Francisco like this, and it was terrible. The tables were cramped, the chairs were awful, and with hundreds of people there's a non-stop chorus of shuffling, tapping, people getting up to go to the bathroom, all that. I don't think we started section one until around 11.

Community colleges I've found are often the best bet. They tend not to have huge lecture halls, so they often cordon people off into smaller individual classrooms after you sign in. If it's a newer community college, they tend to also have newer and better desks.


I agree college desks are usually a lot more cramped, but hotels as test centers sound odd. High schools tend to have much bigger desks and people aren't sitting as close to each other. Desk ergonomics is important to me, so since I want a nice spacious desk where I could stretch without poking someone, I'll take your advice. :)




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