URM and the LSAT Observations

flexityflex86
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URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:13 am

I am not a URM, but run a tutoring company, and have consulted with several 1000 students over the past few years. We have had some URM students - 18 actual students, and phone calls from about 100.

It's my opinion that the LSAT is absolutely not racist. Black and hispanic students except when they don't speak English as a first language (which is a bigger problem with Russian students) have improved just as rapidly if not more rapidly than their white counterparts when they did study.

We've found that URM's, at least in our experience, on average are substantially less likely to study or follow through on a study pattern or lessons.

A common response we get is, "I don't need to get a 160, because I'm ____" or just unrealistic expectations.

I do think, at least in sheer #'s, the whole URM bonus does at least in our experience make students much less motivated as that is the only explanation for why our non-URM students including minorities who are not URM have completed 300% more the work assigned to them on average.

Again this is only based off of ou total amount of students, which has only been about 2,000 or so total across the country so it's also possible we just encountered a bewildering exception.
Last edited by flexityflex86 on Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:21 am, edited 3 times in total.

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soj
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby soj » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:19 am

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flexityflex86
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:23 am

Again, nothing is meant to be offensive.

I'm just saying that because of Law School Numbers, and how open it now is that the URM boost can be huge, I believe it may be counterproductive as it seems to be inspiring many people to think they do not have to try as hard.

We have not found URM students had any more confusion with the LSAT than any other student, and the ones who studied did very well. However, the percentage who completed even 10% of their assigned work was literally a third of non-URM students, and this held true for minority students who are not considered URM.

scba17
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby scba17 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:09 am

I have been following this board for over a year while I was preparing for the lsat. I am over 40 and have no intention
of going to law school. I was just looking for part time income and will be going back to school for an mfa
so I obviously need additional income streams. I am also black and born here in the United States. i don't understand the
term African american perhaps because I actually know people from places like Nigeria and Botswana and etc.

I only joined this board when I saw your message. As a youngster I routinely scored in the 99th percentile on standardized tests and remember scoring in that range senior year on practice LSATs. The people I associated with had similar scores. They were almost all caucasian. We all also knew that standardized tests were merely a puzzle to be cracked with practice. I had heard the cultural bias argument. I actually had to ask myself whether my test performance meant I wasn't authentically black. Fortunately I wasn't associating with people who encouraged that mindset. But I know of other black people who did and it always resulted in a downhill slide.

Bluntly if a black person scores well on those tests he is made to feel as if he is a traitor to his race. i know white people hate being called racist. Imagine being compared to the equivalent of the jews who led other jews into the gas chambers. You can plead ignorance but in the case of blacks like me we represent an evil force that opposes their entire agenda. Note I am not nor ever will be a Republican- I feel that needs to be said.

On one of my test administrations a black woman walked in just seconds before the doors were closed. She hadn't brought pencils or highlighters and had to borrow them from others in the room. She didn't want to be there and no doubt felt it was unfair that she had to take a "white" test to go to law school. Showing up late and without materials was a way to show either contempt, fear or both. At the end she can simply say that the test was bias and that she shouldn't have had to take it anyway.

The danger for certain URMs is that any success on their part can be considered an insult to others involved in the "struggle". One way of guaranteeing the respect of your peers is to make sure you don't do anything that harms their interests. These same individuals are more than capable of outworking anyone when it comes to something more acceptable to their local contacts.

In other words I believe you about the lack of work effort. I've seen it. I've been forced to be understanding of it. I have given up on solutions and don't think it's really my place to suggest them. i just don't want to ever have to take a special "african-american" test to apply for any job or position.

shoeshine
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby shoeshine » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:17 am

are you saying URMs are lazy?

scba17
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby scba17 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:27 am

I made a lengthy post for a reason. The answer is in there. i will not elaborate because I feel that if
you didn't get it from my words you simply don't want to. Issues like this always bring up agendas.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby shoeshine » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:32 am

scba17 wrote:I made a lengthy post for a reason. The answer is in there. i will not elaborate because I feel that if
you didn't get it from my words you simply don't want to. Issues like this always bring up agendas.

I wasn't talking to you. I don't read walls of text from posters with less than ten posts.

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20121109
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby 20121109 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:39 am

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KevinP
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby KevinP » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:46 am

I hate to digress especially since this topic belongs in the social lounge but LSAC has been saying the same thing as the OP for a while now.

"The primary reason that minority test takers perform less well on the LSAT is lack of preparation."
http://www.lsac.org/jd/diversity/minori ... cation.asp

shoeshine wrote:are you saying URMs are lazy?

I guess if you interpret his statements to mean lack of preparation = laziness then LSAC also makes that implication.

Edit: I would also like to point out that I don't know enough about the topic and therefore have no opinion either way. I'm simply echoing statements made by others.
Last edited by KevinP on Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

shoeshine
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby shoeshine » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:55 am

KevinP wrote:
shoeshine wrote:are you saying URMs are lazy?


I hate to digress especially since this topic belongs in the social lounge but LSAC hints at it.

"The primary reason that minority test takers perform less well on the LSAT is lack of preparation."
http://www.lsac.org/jd/diversity/minori ... cation.asp


URMs are not lazy. Or should I say...being a URM does not make you lazy. That is an unfair generalization. URMs are all individuals (just like white people) that perform based on their individual abilities. The low scoring trend that is common among URMs can be attributed to cultural and societal differences that URMs face when compared to their white counter parts.

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KevinP
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby KevinP » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:02 am

shoeshine wrote:URMs are not lazy. Or should I say...being a URM does not make you lazy. That is an unfair generalization. URMs are all individuals (just like white people) that perform based on their individual abilities. The low scoring trend that is common among URMs can be attributed to cultural and societal differences that URMs face when compared to their white counter parts.


That could very well be the case. I don't know enough about the issue to make any substantial claims. I'm just a bit tired but I definitely did not mean to imply anything about URMs being lazy. Either way, I do know URM threads on TLS usually end badly so this will probably be my last post here.

EDIT: No one really knows why the gap exists. I should have chosen my choice of words carefully, but I definitely did not mean to make any implication about URMs.
Last edited by KevinP on Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KevinP
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby KevinP » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:02 am

Edit: double post

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Blessedassurance
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:04 am

Nevermind
Last edited by Blessedassurance on Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

shoeshine
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby shoeshine » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:05 am

KevinP wrote:
shoeshine wrote:URMs are not lazy. Or should I say...being a URM does not make you lazy. That is an unfair generalization. URMs are all individuals (just like white people) that perform based on their individual abilities. The low scoring trend that is common among URMs can be attributed to cultural and societal differences that URMs face when compared to their white counter parts.


That could very well be the case. I don't know enough about the issue to make any substantial claims. I'm just a bit tired but I definitely did not mean to imply anything about URMs being lazy. Either way, I do know URM threads on TLS usually end badly so this will probably be my last post here.


Agreed that it usually ends badly. I just can't let it go when I see people post generalizations about races.

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KingMenes
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby KingMenes » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:19 am

I scored a 160 on the June 2011 LSAT, but I was aiming for 170. I am an American of African descent; I majored in History and minored in economics at a Big Ten university. In high school, I scored a 26 on the ACT as a homeless teenager, I was Black then too.

This is another cause and correlation flawed conclusion. Is the lack of studying the cause for the lower average performance of African American test takers or is the lack of cultural capital or LSAT context or misinformation the cause of the lower average performance of Hispanics and African Americans? Where does the line between cause and correlation diverge? How much does tutoring versus self-study versus undergraduate major play in success or failure on the LSAT? Which is the cause or correlation? Where is the in-depth study that answers this reasonable question?

As someone who studied about 200 hours for the June LSAT, I can confirm that the LSAT is not racist. If anything, the LSAT discriminates against students lacking the proper training in logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension; those who pick the lower scoring majors. It is more important to view the LSAT scores in terms of undergraduate major than ethnicity. There is a heavy concentration of Latino and African Americans in the lower scoring undergraduate majors. For instance, many pre-law and criminal justice majors believe they are receiving the sort of education that will get them into law school; misinformation?Context?Cultural Capital?

I'm in no position to say what the specific cause happens to be, but there are several factors that contribute to the lower test scores of African Americans and Hispanics. IMO, If more URM knew about resources like TLS; the average score among URM would increase within a year or two.

Image


That is my $0.02 on the issue, but I'm sure this dead horse will be beaten over and over again. I digress.
Last edited by KingMenes on Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

scba17
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby scba17 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:43 am

Wow. What a sweet piece of information. As an undergrad I thought I was going to
law school and thus saw no need to major in some prelaw type discipline. I think
it's something one does if they're afraid of law school and hope to get a head start.
It's not like they let you out of ls early for it.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby jbates14 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:55 am

KingMenes wrote:I scored a 160 on the June 2011 LSAT, but I was aiming for 170. I am an American of African descent; I majored in History and minored in economics at a Big Ten university. In high school, I scored a 26 on the ACT as a homeless teenager, I was Black then too.

This is another cause and correlation flawed conclusion. Is the lack of studying the cause for the lower average performance of African American test takers or is the lack of cultural capital or LSAT context or misinformation the cause of the lower average performance of Hispanics and African Americans? Where does the line between cause and correlation diverge?

As someone who studied about 200 hours for the June LSAT, I can confirm that the LSAT is not racist. If anything, the LSAT discriminates against students lacking the proper training in logical reasoning, analytical reasoning, and reading comprehension; those who pick the lower scoring majors. It is more important to view the LSAT scores in terms of undergraduate major than ethnicity. There is a heavy concentration of Latino and African Americans in the lower scoring undergraduate majors. For instance, many pre-law and criminal justice majors believe they are receiving the sort of education that will get them into law school; misinformation?Context?Cultural Capital?

I'm in no position to say what the specific cause happens to be, but there are several factors that contribute to the lower test scores of African Americans and Hispanics. IMO, If more URM knew about resources like TLS; the average score among URM would increase within a year or two.

Image


That is my $0.02 on the issue, but I'm sure this dead horse will be beaten over and over again.



Those are some pretty interesting statistics, but they were published in an economic journal. Seems a little biased.

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20121109
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby 20121109 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:55 am

Blessedassurance wrote:Nevermind


This was a good post. I dk why you edited it.

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DonnaDraper
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby DonnaDraper » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:50 am

shoeshine wrote:are you saying URMs are lazy?


URMS are not lazy, they are human. And by that, I mean they are trying to achieve their goals with the minimal amount of cost to themselves (time, studying effort, emotional drain, etc.) Whether they have the resources or any social/cultural pressures is another story, which is what makes this issue so so complicated.

For example, take the classic instance on TLS (which is not representative, but still) in which a person posts in the "what are my chances" thread and then everyone shouts retake at them. People retake because they want to get into a particular school or type of school (T1)(stating the obvious), and if a person has a reasonable shot at getting into a school with a first-time LSAT, chances are he/she will not be retaking. The point is (once again disregarding resources, etc) URMs and a non-URMs are in a different place despite the exact same GPA/LSAT stats, with URMs having a greater likelihood of getting the law school they want, assuming the URM and non-URM both want the same school/type of school. So why study hard to boost that 167 when you don't have to? This is not laziness. This is practicality. If I were in that position, I would be thinking the same way, and I am not a URM.

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Ginj
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Ginj » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:01 am

DonnaDraper wrote:
shoeshine wrote:are you saying URMs are lazy?


URMS are not lazy, they are human. And by that, I mean they are trying to achieve their goals with the minimal amount of cost to themselves (time, studying effort, emotional drain, etc.) Whether they have the resources or any social/cultural pressures is another story, which is what makes this issue so so complicated.

For example, take the classic instance on TLS (which is not representative, but still) in which a person posts in the "what are my chances" thread and then everyone shouts retake at them. People retake because they want to get into a particular school or type of school (T1)(stating the obvious), and if a person has a reasonable shot at getting into a school with a first-time LSAT, chances are he/she will not be retaking. The point is (once again disregarding resources, etc) URMs and a non-URMs are in a different place despite the exact same GPA/LSAT stats, with URMs having a greater likelihood of getting the law school they want, assuming the URM and non-URM both want the same school/type of school. So why study hard to boost that 167 when you don't have to? This is not laziness. This is practicality. If I were in that position, I would be thinking the same way, and I am not a URM.


This. I think the point of the OP is not to prove that URMs are inherently lazy or unmotivated. Rather, it's a commentary on affirmative action influencing motivation levels.

flexityflex86
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:21 am

I certainly don't think it's like the poster said about blacks viewing doing too well on the test as being a traitor. I think everyone wants to best situation for themselves. My experience has been they do not have any reasoning deficiencies any more than anyone else, but do not study as they don't have time.

Again, I do not want to generalize on the entire population. We've only tutored a few thousand people so we can't generalize on the hundred thousand or so people who took the LSAT over this time.

I think the only explanation is the URM thing hurting motivation. We have had students who don't study and score in the 130s say they are going to go to Harvard, because they have a 3.3 gpa and are black.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby jmjones » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:22 am

ACCESS.

I'm a black man at a top ten university. Yet, before the summer of my senior year in high school, I could not tell you what Harvard was or even how to pronounce Yale. My grades (and some of my friends for that matter) were always high. But to us, college was college. We did not know difference between Stanford and the local community college. Mostly, because we did not know what Stanford was.

Funny story--first time I heard about Stanford; it was through some movie in which Jack Black plays a bum and his brother/friend or something is trying to get into Stanford.

Anyway...

What was an ivy league? What is prestige? What does ACTing have to do with college?

You have to understand that these are not common place discussions in a "URM" home. Even if the parents wanted their kids to go to good schools, they did not know how to help their kids because they were also in the same situation.

I could not even find a credit/debit card to pay the online registration fee for the ACT. I had to give some random neighbor cash so I could use his card.

And now, I go to school with students whose parents AND grandparents were students at the same University. You think their parents did not craft their personal lives and their resumes to reflect a successful applicant for this particular school.

As mentioned earlier, there is something about the hood. It's a place where people lack access to information, success is discouraged as is seen "acting white" because achieving success (law school/standard English/eating salad) requires you to distance yourself from 'the hood.'

There are all types of sociology books on this type of mentality and it is not limited to the American Blacks. Read and you might understand.

Another important consideration is when all this is happening. We're talking about teenagers and young adults, people that can be easily swayed by peer pressure. Not too many teenagers go on soul searching missions.

I remember when Harvard and Columbia came to interview me and I also remember how lightly I took it. Not because I did not want to go to those schools but because I did not understand the magnitude of these interviews. Why? Because no one was there to tell me.

The career services office was tucked away in some small corner of the building where none of my friends kicked it. So why would I ever go there? . . .Unless I needed to print something and it happened to be the nearest room with a computer and then I saw an ACT booklet (remember those) on a shelf and then just happened to inquire about it and then . . .well you kinda know the rest.

Remember my friends from high school, those with the good grades, well they went to community college because they did not know better. Their families did not understand the value of sending them to distant schools for their FUTURE when their help with the bills was needed at home, NOW.

And me? That summer before my senior year, I happened to get a phone call from an uncle that I did not know existed. One of those uncles who some in the family consider "white washed" and chose to live in some random state away from the community and become a dentist. He knew I had no parental support and, at the time, I was living alone in some low income apartment.

He was my access to information. My ticket from that environment. He challenged me to gain acceptance into a top ten school. It was the first time anyone had taken an interest in my academics. But it would be a long time until I fully came to appreciate my new environment of opportunities and white people and ass kissing professors for recommendations. In fact, my first year in college, I did not speak to a single professor towards the end of the year. They weren't extending a handshake to me and I was too busy wondering "where the fuck I'm I" to do so.

I specifically remember in one of my classes, the TA kept giving me Cs on my papers. I never said a word. I just assumed I was doing C work. Until one day, she gave me a 67. I took all my papers to her and asked her to explain to me why I was getting low grades. She couldn't. She simply changed them all to B+ and A-s (I still think they were As :evil: )

We (my friends and I) grew up hiding from authority figures. Cops were always harassing. Principals were always hating. We only got to deal with white people when they summoned you.

So what the fuck is office hours?

Despite all the randomness in this post, I hope it conveys the message that a minority student from a disadvantaged background may need several lucky moments in his/her life to get to where a majority (i generalize) of TLSers knew they were going from the get-go.

Get it.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:32 am

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
Blessedassurance wrote:Nevermind


This was a good post. I dk why you edited it.


I figured this thread was going to end badly. Thankfully it hasn't (not yet, anyways).

flexityflex86
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:35 am

I understand and appreciate your success story - congrats to you.

However, what I am talking about is not related to socioeconomic status. Many of the people I am talking about are young professionals making 40-50k a year out of decent colleges like GWU, and Penn State. While they may have been born in the ghetto, nothing about them currently indicates poverty. Heck, my parents are dependent on me sending them monthly checks and I am the guarantor for their apartment (and subsequently often have to pay their rent for them). I don't ignore the opportunity to get ahead. Frankly, I need to get ahead or they'll be on the street along with myself.

Moreover, these are people making the conscious attempt to apply to law school so they clearly want success.

I also do appreciate the respectful tone that everyone has upheld. I think it is impressive that we are able to have a mature, respectful and thought provoking conversation on a topic that most law school adcoms would not be able to handle as professionally.

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bk1
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby bk1 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:37 am

flexityflex86 wrote:I think the only explanation is the URM thing hurting motivation. We have had students who don't study and score in the 130s say they are going to go to Harvard, because they have a 3.3 gpa and are black.


Now this is fucking absurd. This sort of grossly distorted view of the admissions process isn't something unique to URMs, it is true of probably the majority of applicants. People like to think of themselves as special snowflakes and don't really know how numbers driven the whole process really is.

African Americans consistently score below the regular applicant pool, across the SES. Any sort of argument that takes into account laziness, lack of studying, lack of time, lack of money, etc, etc basically falls apart when the score gap that exists between blacks and whites still exists between richs blacks and rich whites as well as poor blacks and poor whites. Why is this? I have no fucking clue and LSAC doesn't either.

The one thing I will say is that I think that being URM pushes motivation downwards in one area: retaking (at least from an advice-driven TLS perspective). A 3.7/167 non-URM will basically be told to retake every time. That persons chances are greatly diminished by a sub-170 LSAT score. On the other hand, a 3.7/167 URM is rarely told to retake by TLS and even if someone says retake it is definitely not nearly as vigorous.




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