URM and the LSAT Observations

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Helicio
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Helicio » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:12 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
Helicio wrote:Gaia or other mods, can we at least move this thread somewhere else? I'm studying for the LSAT and I hate seeing this every time I visit this board. A large amount of people who post in these types of threads end up either wholly disparaging or wholly approving one opinion only, and these things invariably turn into flame wars or Gatriel-bashing fests (not that I mind the latter).


Tbh, I'm afraid that moving it to the lounge would facilitate the flaming. All the frequent loungers would descend upon it and derail the discussion.

But maybe I'm asking for too much...maybe this is just a catch-22 and this thread is an exercise in futility.

I hear you, but I don't know if I should move it because one person is unhappy about seeing it. Especially when doing so may frustrate the substantive discussion.


I guess you're right. We'll see where this thread goes.

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Jeffort
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Jeffort » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:18 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
chimp wrote:Also, I feel like I've seen threads that seemed to be much more tame than this locked within the first few pages :?


If you think this thread is bad, you haven't seen real URM flame wars on TLS.



Yeah, this thread is very mild and is proceeding with surprising civility given the topic. I think the discussion has for the most part been very reasonable, intelligent and civilized. I'm not saying everything that has been claimed is necessarily intelligent, but the majority of the analysis/discussion/criticisms have been so and decently thought out. Plus their hasn't been race baiting, hate/slander or racial invectives that typically pop up when discussion about this topic degenerate.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:25 pm

To conclude, there are as many varying experiences among URM's as there are among whites. Certain things will be constant among a large percentage of the group (with exceptions) but race and constant variable association may be spurious. In my experience on different continents, many things people attribute to race in America are a consequence of environmental factors, not race. A black person in Africa has a vastly different experience than a black person in America (holding other things constant).

An argument is often made that the large number of Africans or Carribeans who go on to graduate school in America versus their American-born black counterparts is attributable to the emphasis on education as a measure of success in these parts. That is perhaps true to an extent but the problem with that argument is that mostly, it is the best and brightest (part of which is related to wealth) who immigrate for educational and other purposes to begin with. An African international student not on scholarship usually has considerable financial resources at his or her disposal.

A better argument about this whole boost business would be the fact that not much effort is made to go beyond just the skin color into other factors which may or may not have been influenced by the skin color. But even that is problematic. Arguments could be offered against any given boost not just URM's. Recommendation letters are for the most part an exercise in ass-kissing. The letter grade you received in a course represents what the lecturer thought of your work, what's the point of the recommendation? Recommendations put other students at a disadvantage. People gain a boost through softs and sometimes softs are influenced by socio-politico-economic factors. It is not easy to be president of your school's Republican club when you have a 9-to-5 to go to and when you are raising a kid on your own.

The holistic approach to admissions exist for a reason. White applicants with stellar numbers get rejected for white applicants with relatively lower numbers. I think there was a URM who scored ridiculously on the LSAT last cycle and still didn't get into Harvard or Yale. To quote Keanu Reeves in "Constantine"..."God works in mysterious ways, some like it, others don't". Of course by God, he was referring to adcomms. Stanford perhaps? :P

In any case, I think this is a healthy discussion to have as long as it's respectful. In all honesty though, there is nothing to be gained with these types of discussions and nothing can be said that hasn't been said already. In the end, no one knows why the hell URM's don't generally do that well on the LSAT. To the OP, try to "further progress" next cycle. I'm working with a 165 and fervently hope things stay the same for my cycle 8)

Most URM's (myself included) wish nothing more than a level-playing field in all spheres of life not just LSAT scores. The boost is benign at best, in the grand scheme of things.

thecactus
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby thecactus » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:45 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:In any case, I think this is a healthy discussion to have as long as it's respectful. In all honesty though, there is nothing to be gained with these types of discussions and nothing can be said that hasn't been said already. In the end, no one knows why the hell URM's don't generally do that well on the LSAT. To the OP, try to "further progress" next cycle. I'm working with a 165 and fervently hope things stay the same for my cycle 8)


I think there is something to be gained, and this thread proves it. Supposedly, we are the future of the legal profession. We will become future attorneys, judges, politicians, activists, and adcomm members. It's important to have these discussions about diversity and inequality. The main take-away from this thread is that URM trends on standardized tests is an incredibly complicated phenomenon rooted in history, culture, politics, psychology, sociology, etc. and simplistic explanations ("URM's don't work as hard! It's about genetics! It's because of 'black culture'") based on anecdotal evidence are just not going to cut it.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Jeffort » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:05 pm

thecactus wrote:
Blessedassurance wrote:In any case, I think this is a healthy discussion to have as long as it's respectful. In all honesty though, there is nothing to be gained with these types of discussions and nothing can be said that hasn't been said already. In the end, no one knows why the hell URM's don't generally do that well on the LSAT. To the OP, try to "further progress" next cycle. I'm working with a 165 and fervently hope things stay the same for my cycle 8)


I think there is something to be gained, and this thread proves it. Supposedly, we are the future of the legal profession. We will become future attorneys, judges, politicians, activists, and adcomm members. It's important to have these discussions about diversity and inequality. The main take-away from this thread is that URM trends on standardized tests is an incredibly complicated phenomenon rooted in history, culture, politics, psychology, sociology, etc. and simplistic explanations ("URM's don't work as hard! It's about genetics! It's because of 'black culture'") based on anecdotal evidence are just not going to cut it.


I agree ^

It's a very complicated phenomena and there is certainly no single cause or small set of just a few causes that adequately explain the statistical differences, consequently no single or small set of answers to explain the issue or to easily change what the stats show exist. That doesn't mean that the issues should not be further researched and studied though. LSAC has been pouring lots of $$ over decades into researching and studying these issues to try and figure it out and to make sure the test creates as level of a playing field as possible for everyone that wants to go to law school. They have been doing a pretty good job of furthering that goal.

Social engineering is a very big part of policies, the law, government actions, academic policies, institutional behaviors, the world we live in, etc. It influences the lives of everyone in various ways in life every day and therefore should not be discarded from discussion/swept under the rug and ignored just because it is complicated and heats up emotions.

EarlCat wrote:What's the next step in figuring out which prep company offers tutoring in 18 cities?


IDK, it's dinner time. Something told me that the next step I should take involves Chicago: deep dish pizza. Great pizza and I'm hungry. I hope the knock off version I can get local (not in Chicago area) matches up quality wise to the real thing. I hate those new fly by night start-up pizza places that pop up in strip malls or wherever claiming to be "The best" only to be disappointed by cardboard Little Caesars quality product. Good top notch pizza is hard to find and I hate to be disappointed when I splurge on it.
Last edited by Jeffort on Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:05 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Blessedassurance
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:20 pm

thecactus wrote:
Blessedassurance wrote:In any case, I think this is a healthy discussion to have as long as it's respectful. In all honesty though, there is nothing to be gained with these types of discussions and nothing can be said that hasn't been said already. In the end, no one knows why the hell URM's don't generally do that well on the LSAT. To the OP, try to "further progress" next cycle. I'm working with a 165 and fervently hope things stay the same for my cycle 8)


I think there is something to be gained, and this thread proves it. Supposedly, we are the future of the legal profession. We will become future attorneys, judges, politicians, activists, and adcomm members. It's important to have these discussions about diversity and inequality. The main take-away from this thread is that URM trends on standardized tests is an incredibly complicated phenomenon rooted in history, culture, politics, psychology, sociology, etc. and simplistic explanations ("URM's don't work as hard! It's about genetics! It's because of 'black culture'") based on anecdotal evidence are just not going to cut it.


Agreed. The rationale behind many posts of this nature however, emanate from anger towards the fact that URM's receive a boost for being URM's and not a genuine attempt to analyze and perhaps solve, the disparity. The issue is further compounded by the fact that the LSAT can be very arbitrary. I scored a 155 and a 165 in February and June respectively, the difference being the fact that the February was synonymous to a cold diagnostic for me and I studied four weekends for June by the accidental fact that I stumbled on TLS. Prior to reading TLS, I had no idea a 170 or 170+ could get me into Yale, I was focused on my state's flagship university and didn't even know the intricacies of Law School Admissions etc. The conjecture that URM's do not try hard enough by virtue of a knowledge of the URM boost is based on a highly unrepresentative sample and fails to take into account the fact that the vast majority of URM's do not know of the boost to begin with and do not think they stand a chance at T14 to begin with, GPA notwithstanding. I consider myself to be of above average intelligence and scored in the 99th percentile on the ASVAB and SAT and I didn't know about the URM boost till this year when I joined TLS.

The point of my story is to show that the debate often proceeds on a lot of assumptions that are not simply true for a large amount of blacks (I'm going to use the term "blacks" because I can only speak from that perspective and making arguments about URM's in general will be disingenuous). The perception that blacks attribute certain things to "acting white" holds true but only for a certain percentage of blacks. The issue of machismo-driven behavior is also true but only when one holds a large number of things constant and the "acting white" perception is not confined to blacks. In fact, when caucasians try to "act black", their behavior often involves "dumbing down" and a conscientious effort at butchering grammar and lexis. Dr Beverly Tatum's book "Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria" provides some interesting insights but the issues involved with race-relations and interactions in America are so complex that it involves different, multi-layered analysis from several different angles. Even an analysis so derived, will invariably fail to account for a certain factor.

Even in my capacity as a black person, I cannot speak for any other black person concerning his or her own unique experiences. These matters are truly complicated.

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PDaddy
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby PDaddy » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:29 pm

I'm selling. As the above poster indicates, this smells of another race-biased rant cloacked in false "concern" for URM's and their refusal to take advantage of their abilities. While it is true that URM's can do much better when we apply ourselves, the LSAT still has many problems. In other words, the major flaw in your argument is not that it makes untrue assertions - indeed, I agree with most of your premises but not the conclusion drawn from them - but in its assumtion that two (true) propositions either cannot coexist or are mutually exclusive.

You assume that we as (1) URM's do not always apply ourselves fully to the process and (2) that the LSAT formatting, content and administration are in no way "culturally biased" (fwiw, almost nobody here will assert "racial bias"). The second assertion does not have to be true, nor does it necessarily lead to your conclusion. URM's should apply themselves more to preparation and writing, and the entire application process as a whole, but the LSAT is a highly flawed test whose dynamics give certain students advantages over others. Those advantages, though inherent, are not intractable; so there are no excuses for poor performance (or lack of effort) barring learning disabilities and the like. URM students who rest on their hopes of receiving some kind of "boost" are really embarrassing to me. However, I would still not venture to say that the alleged boosts are unwarranted when given.

Nevertheless, a more culture-neutral (some may say "race-neutral") exam can and will be forthcoming very soon, and rightfully so.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby sarahlawg » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:37 pm

do you know what the cultural elements are? topics, language? what kind of changes could they make to the test to make it more 'culturally neutral'?

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:39 pm

PDaddy wrote:I'm selling. As the above poster indicates, this smells of another race-biased rant cloacked in false "concern" for URM's and their refusal to take advantage of their abilities. While it is true that URM's can do much better when we apply ourselves, the LSAT still has many problems. In other words, the major flaw in your argument is not that it makes untrue assertions - indeed I agree wholly with your premises but not the conclusion drawn from them - but in its assumtion that two (true) propositions either cannot coexist or are mutually exclusive.

You assume that we as (1) URM's do not always apply ourselves fully to the process and (2) that the LSAT formatting, content and administration are in no way "culturally biased" (fwiw, almost nobody here will assert "racial bias"). The second assertion does not have to be true, nor does it necessarily lead to your conclusion. URM's should apply themselves more to preparation and writing, and the entire application process as a whole, but the LSAT is a highly flawed test whose dynamics give certain students advantages over others. Those advantages, though inherent, are not intractable; so there are no excuses for poor performance barring learning disabilities and the like.

Nevertheless, a more culture-neutral (some may say "race-neutral") exam can and will be forthcoming very soon, and rightfully so.


Well put. Sir, I presume?

The tendency to equate the LSAT as a solid measurement of intelligence (for the purposes of Law School admissions) sometimes astounds me. I do however recognize, that any given standardized test will fail to serve as an accurate prediction for a certain number of people.

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Helicio
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Helicio » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:47 pm

PDaddy wrote:However, I would still not venture to say that the alleged boosts are unwarranted when given.


Why don't you think they are unwarranted? I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you, I'm just wondering.

Do you believe that boosts are warranted even in the case of a rich black person with a stable family and a 160 getting into a school over a poor white person with an unstable family and a 168? I ask because I'm a poor white person (originally from another country, too) who is at times bitter over the fact that people with URM status and legacy can get in over me even if I study ten times harder than them and earn a better score on the LSAT, even if my life in specific was ten times harder than their life.

I know that affirmative action and such can only be done by generalizing--and some millionaire/upper middle class URMs will be able to take advantage of it--but I really wish people would look into making it more socioeconomic.

Yes, I know AA is supposed to increase diversity, but coming from an "elite" private school I can tell you that the diversity we have here as a result of AA is only an illusion. Almost all the URMs come from rich families, just like the non-URMs. Barely anyone here is on financial aid.

The real people who are being let down by affirmative action and legacy are poor URMs and poor non-URMs. The rest of you have it made--especially if your a rich URM/legacy and you can score 8 points lower than I can and still get to a T10. Fuckers.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby NYCLSATTutor » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:58 pm

Mickey Quicknumbers wrote:Well, if anyone actually cares, This (page 19), combined with the youtube video stating that the disparity remains when controlled for socio-economic status, pretty much kills and theories or personal experiences in the last 4 pages.


No....it doesn't. And he doesn't say the differential remains the same when income is controlled for, he just said there was still a difference when income was controlled for. I would be very curious to know whether it changes at all when income is controlled for.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:59 pm

Blessedassurance wrote:The tendency to equate the LSAT as a solid measurement of intelligence (for the purposes of Law School admissions) sometimes astounds me.

This bothers me as well. Which reminds me of something disturbing...

A few weeks ago I was at a friend's house and was browsing their home library when I came across a bunch of books on standardized testing and the bell curve (SAT, LSAT, etc). There were several pages in one book showing the differences in scoring among racial groups. My friend came up and asked me to immediately place the book I was holding back on the shelf because it disturbed her. She then told me that her father had been obsessed with the bell curve and had used it to justify his racism, as well as his belief that his daughters should perform at a certain level in school due to their race. It made my skin crawl. That's probably why I haven't been able to think clearly about this topic for the past month.

Sorry for adding to the derpage earlier.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby NYCLSATTutor » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:08 pm

PDaddy wrote:I'm selling. As the above poster indicates, this smells of another race-biased rant cloacked in false "concern" for URM's and their refusal to take advantage of their abilities. While it is true that URM's can do much better when we apply ourselves, the LSAT still has many problems. In other words, the major flaw in your argument is not that it makes untrue assertions - indeed, I agree with most of your premises but not the conclusion drawn from them - but in its assumtion that two (true) propositions either cannot coexist or are mutually exclusive.

You assume that we as (1) URM's do not always apply ourselves fully to the process and (2) that the LSAT formatting, content and administration are in no way "culturally biased" (fwiw, almost nobody here will assert "racial bias"). The second assertion does not have to be true, nor does it necessarily lead to your conclusion. URM's should apply themselves more to preparation and writing, and the entire application process as a whole, but the LSAT is a highly flawed test whose dynamics give certain students advantages over others. Those advantages, though inherent, are not intractable; so there are no excuses for poor performance (or lack of effort) barring learning disabilities and the like. URM students who rest on their hopes of receiving some kind of "boost" are really embarrassing to me. However, I would still not venture to say that the alleged boosts are unwarranted when given.

Nevertheless, a more culture-neutral (some may say "race-neutral") exam can and will be forthcoming very soon, and rightfully so.


I take it from this that you see the LSAT as racially or culturally biased. Can you articulate why? I think it is an appealing explanation as to why the differences exist between minority/white test-takers, but I've never seem a compelling explanation about the test itself to explain why someone thinks its not race-neutral.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby PDaddy » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:09 pm

I really believe the test is biased along cultural and economic lines, not racial lines. Students of color and poor whites tend to attend mostly poorer schools with fewer resources. They tend to live under harder circumstances and become socialized to instant gratification...in everything. This also explains why so many black kids gravitate towards sports and entertainment as career options. It's not that they are averse to hard work. Indeed, success in those firelds requires much of the same work ethic it takes to become a lawyer. It is more because they see the prospects for large, more immediate returns for their work. It's the LeBron/Beyonce' factor.

When you grow up disadvantaged, your life expectancy is shorter, so you don't think in terms of college, 401K's and "retirement". Urban Black and Hispanic men, for example, don't typically expect to retire; they expect early deaths. White men in rural Arkansas operate under much of the same belief system. Whites are not immune to this, nor are other ethnic groups or gays. This dynamic is just one example of the efects of growing up in lesser valued communities.

Even those disadvantaged persons who embrace education as their ticket tend to do so half-heartedly, so the LeBron/Beyonce' factor is still prevalent. This mentality has become deleterious to our entire society, but it is especially harmful to less advantaged citizens because they don't realize that education and land ownership have been used historically to transcend poverty and disenfranchisement.

Another problem arises when the facilities are inferior, as are the efforts of the instructors. URM and poorer white students are less likely to become proficient with computers, the English language, analytical reasoning and general study skills as a result. These factors are out of their control, yet their prospects for attending and doing well in college all depend on those elements. I can use Michael Oher, the Cosby kids or any host of other examples to show that one's early environment is the single most impactful element in what occurs later in life. We all know this.

A rich black person who has lived in well-to-do neighborhoods and attended wealthy private, suburban schools is unworthy of a boost. That is why I qualified my statements. Such boosts, while appropriate in certain circumstances, are wholly inappropriate in others. Conversely, a poor white person who, on paper, could resemble any hard-luck life black or Hispanic person would deserve the boost. I have said this many times before. The boost - if it exists - is appropriate on a case-by-case basis. It just so happens that many of the factors adcoms consider in their calculus happen to apply to people of color. That does not make the practice a "race-based" preference/mechanism.

Those who have had to overcome more hardship, deserve to have their accomplishments considered in a different context, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or other demographic considerations. The problem I have had with many TLSers is that they want admissions to be a perfect science, and it cannot be...neither is the law. Hence, it is a reality that one must come to expect to encounter in the real world.

The Casey Anthony trial is a perfect example of that. Her "guilt" or "innocence" (and her resulting sentence) might theoretically have hinged on her having been sexually abused as a child, had her allegations been true. We as human beings - and I am proud of this - have accepted the reality that we must often take preipheral factors into consideration when making decisions. The short answer: I believe in the principle that certain decisions require contextualization; admissions is one of them. Nevertheless, it has nothing to do with race.

That's what makes us higher evolved, thinking beings as opposed to less evolved animals or robots.

The test is culturally biased because it does not account for other types of relevant skills that less advantaged students might acquire as a result of their unique circumstances. For example, a wealthy white student may read faster, but clients don't always need lawyers who read quickly. In fact, they may want lawyers who don't read or speak quickly and are less likely to use jargon once they have learned it. So, the timing factor of the LSAT is biased towards rich white students who seek to enter areas such as corporate law, as opposed to bilingual students who aspire to become family law attorneys in their immigrant communities. Hence, a test that balanced timing and accuracy might be a fairer test.

Poorer students who may have witnessed more hardships in their lifetimes are likely to be more sensitive to those aspects of life, yet the LSAT does not test the human intuition. Even employers have behavioral skills tests that have been accepted by the society we live in. Why not the LSAT, especially when it may balance the scales and give more insight into one's true prospects for becoming a successful, well-rounded legal professional?
Last edited by PDaddy on Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

flexityflex86
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:24 pm

Regarding Atlas, etc. if I anticipated outing my personal details I would not have started this thread or made any of the several 1000 posts I've made in the way I've made them. I would do what I do professionally where I keep all my opinions to myself, and say whatever I've internalized from the marketing and human resource books I've read.

I'm sorry if I'm being annoying, but I'd be the first to admit that my behavior on this forum would get me fired even from entry level positions at most tutoring companies only because of the controversial nature of them, not cause I think I've been rude.

Regarding poverty, I read a study published last year that said teens/young adults who witness their family go from rich to poor do better than kids who are always rich academically, because they had the same advantages as a youth, but gain a superior work ethic and drive than their peers.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:32 pm

flexityflex86 wrote:Regarding poverty, I read a study published last year that said teens/young adults who witness their family go from rich to poor do better than kids who are always rich academically, because they had the same advantages as a youth, but gain a superior work ethic and drive than their peers.

Can you post a link if/when you remember where that's from? I'd like to check it out.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:34 pm

PDaddy wrote:I'm selling. As the above poster indicates, this smells of another race-biased rant cloacked in false "concern" for URM's and their refusal to take advantage of their abilities. While it is true that URM's can do much better when we apply ourselves, the LSAT still has many problems. In other words, the major flaw in your argument is not that it makes untrue assertions - indeed, I agree with most of your premises but not the conclusion drawn from them - but in its assumtion that two (true) propositions either cannot coexist or are mutually exclusive.

You assume that we as (1) URM's do not always apply ourselves fully to the process and (2) that the LSAT formatting, content and administration are in no way "culturally biased" (fwiw, almost nobody here will assert "racial bias"). The second assertion does not have to be true, nor does it necessarily lead to your conclusion. URM's should apply themselves more to preparation and writing, and the entire application process as a whole, but the LSAT is a highly flawed test whose dynamics give certain students advantages over others. Those advantages, though inherent, are not intractable; so there are no excuses for poor performance (or lack of effort) barring learning disabilities and the like. URM students who rest on their hopes of receiving some kind of "boost" are really embarrassing to me. However, I would still not venture to say that the alleged boosts are unwarranted when given.

Nevertheless, a more culture-neutral (some may say "race-neutral") exam can and will be forthcoming very soon, and rightfully so.

If you think the LSAT is flawed in what it's measuring, you should look at the GMAT and GRE.

thecactus
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby thecactus » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:37 pm

Helicio wrote:
PDaddy wrote:Do you believe that boosts are warranted even in the case of a rich black person with a stable family and a 160 getting into a school over a poor white person with an unstable family and a 168? I ask because I'm a poor white person (originally from another country, too) who is at times bitter over the fact that people with URM status and legacy can get in over me even if I study ten times harder than them and earn a better score on the LSAT, even if my life in specific was ten times harder than their life.


I can apply your analysis about race to socioeconomic status as well. I know a couple people who grew up dirt poor but attended (with scholarships) prestigious private elementary/secondary schools (think P. Diddy). On the other hand, most middle class kids will attend ho-hum average public schools. If I were to compare these two groups of people, I can just as easily conclude that being poor has minimal effect on educational outcomes, and that using socioeconomic status is an arbitrary way of discriminating against middle-class applicants.

You're cherry-picking two groups of people, comparing them, and erroneously concluding that things like race don't offer significant advantages to one group over another. Some rich Latinos might have it easier than some poor whites; some rich women might have it easier than some poor men; some gay whites might have it easier than some straight minorities. But does that necessarily mean things like racism, sexism, and homophobia don't exist and aren't major factors in somebody's life trajectory? The reason why law schools pick race as a plus factor is because race is THAT entrenched in American society.

I also think the URM advantage is incredibly inflated, In Michigan and California, it is not legal for public schools to look at race/ethnicity in the admissions process (but obviously, if you write a personal statement about your race, there's nothing anyone can do to stop you.)

To be clear, I understand where your bitterness comes from. I understand the resentment of working your butt off and seeing someone get the same goal with seemingly half the effort. But your bitterness is just that -- bitterness. It's not how we should be deciding public policy or even admissions policy.

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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby Blessedassurance » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:39 pm

SchopenhauerFTW wrote:
Blessedassurance wrote:The tendency to equate the LSAT as a solid measurement of intelligence (for the purposes of Law School admissions) sometimes astounds me.

This bothers me as well. Which reminds me of something disturbing...

A few weeks ago I was at a friend's house and was browsing their home library when I came across a bunch of books on standardized testing and the bell curve (SAT, LSAT, etc). There were several pages in one book showing the differences in scoring among racial groups. My friend came up and asked me to immediately place the book I was holding back on the shelf because it disturbed her. She then told me that her father had been obsessed with the bell curve and had used it to justify his racism, as well as his belief that his daughters should perform at a certain level in school due to their race. It made my skin crawl. That's probably why I haven't been able to think clearly about this topic for the past month.

Sorry for adding to the derpage earlier.


I was actually discussing the LSAT today with a co-worker, specifically, with respect to the influence of age. I am of the school of thought that thinks the LSAT - after a certain score threshold - is basically testing intelligence in specific skills with respect to speed. I scored a 165 because I stupidly spent over 7 minutes (no joke) analyzing two questions on the third game which I could not answer based on inferences. It meant I had to guess on the last game which was significantly easier (game about colored balls) but which I did not have the time for. A test prep or ample research would have easily alerted me to these kinds of rookie mistakes.

Anyways, a point I brought up in my discussion with a co-worker, was that it takes a certain level of confidence to pick an answer and move on (as opposed to ruling out all others) which a younger person may be more inclined to do than an older person. Holding things constant and assuming older people are more prone to over-analysis. Overall, I have no qualms about the LSAT and I think it's a pretty complicated test which tests a number of things. This is good. But to equate it with intelligence and assume success in Law school is dependent on one's score on the LSAT is a bit misguided. After a certain threshold, it becomes a matter of educated guessing with respect to capabilities at best.

I guessed an E, E, E on a question and the answers happened to be A, A, A. I never scored under a 170 on my PT's and gambling the blind guessing on a different alphabet would have put me at a score of 167 and that will still not have given an accurate picture but it would have been better than a 165. Granted the band 9162-168)would have accounted for my range and schools like Michigan recognize the statistical insignificance of a plus or minus 3 but in the end, a 167 looks better than a 165. I think the video posted in an earlier post addressed some pertinent issues which the OP for whatever reason, has chosen to ignore.

The difference in June between 165 and 170 were 7 questions (which is more than the total I guessed on). If I had lucked out on my guesses, I would be running around claiming to be an expert on the LSAT which would be false. While LSAC must be commended, they still have a long way to go.

flexityflex86
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:41 pm

SchopenhauerFTW wrote:
flexityflex86 wrote:Regarding poverty, I read a study published last year that said teens/young adults who witness their family go from rich to poor do better than kids who are always rich academically, because they had the same advantages as a youth, but gain a superior work ethic and drive than their peers.

Can you post a link if/when you remember where that's from? I'd like to check it out.

yeah, it was on 10-10 wins (a radio station here in NYC) also - think it was CBS. It was also in the NY Times once - I couldn't find it :-(. This was last spring.

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soj
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby soj » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:42 pm

Wow, this thread just got really good again. I definitely jumped the gun on the IBTL. I agree with Blessedassurance and PDaddy, and look forward to reading more of this discussion. Thank you.

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EarlCat
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby EarlCat » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:45 pm

PDaddy wrote:Nevertheless, a more culture-neutral (some may say "race-neutral") exam can and will be forthcoming very soon, and rightfully so.

What exam is that?

sarahlawg
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby sarahlawg » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:46 pm

PDaddy wrote:The test is culturally biased because it does not account for other types of relevant skills that less advantaged students might acquire as a result of their unique circumstances. For example, a wealthy white student may read faster, but clients don't always need lawyers who read quickly. In fact, they may want lawyers who don't read or speak quickly and are less likely to use jargon once they have learned it. So, the timing factor of the LSAT is biased towards rich white students who seek to enter areas such as corporate law, as opposed to bilingual students who aspire to become family law attorneys in their immigrant communities. Hence, a test that balanced timing and accuracy might be a fairer test.

Poorer students who may have witnessed more hardships in their lifetimes are likely to be more sensitive to those aspects of life, yet the LSAT does not test the human intuition. Even employers have behavioral skills tests that have been accepted by the society we live in. Why not the LSAT, especially when it may balance the scales and give more insight into one's true prospects for becoming a successful, well-rounded legal professional?


to be honest, this seems like a pretty weak argument for a cultural bias. I have read things about the language of the test being culturally biased using idioms and phrases and what not that are not commonly found used in minority houses, but are in white houses. I'd be interested in more arguments like this.
For your first point, one could say that those with the top scores go to those who do end up in corporate law, whereas those with lower scores go to schools where they will be groomed for things like family law.
As a whole, I feel like instead of doing an after-the-fact boost, you're talking about evening out the scores so that white people miss ones that URMs/low income students are more likely to get. It's an interesting switch...

flexityflex86
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby flexityflex86 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:48 pm

honestly, i think the LSAT is close to as good as it can be when you realize it will never be perfect. in its current state it really doesn't favor any major. maybe they can focus less q's on paleontologists and things nobody cares about, and incorporate some pop culture (they still talk about cd's) to even things out.

and i disagree there is a cultural bias. blacks are part of the same culture whites are. yes, you have more black people from poorer families, but in all honesty what %age of LSAT test takers grew up in the hood? there are i'm sure, and i'd like to see a stat, but i'm inclined to believe that while their parents may have grew up in poverty, these kids live in the suburbs.

sarahlawg
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Re: URM and the LSAT Observations

Postby sarahlawg » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:49 pm

flexityflex86 wrote:honestly, i think the LSAT is close to as good as it can be when you realize it will never be perfect. in its current state it really doesn't favor any major. maybe they can focus less q's on paleontologists and things nobody cares about, and incorporate some pop culture (they still talk about cd's) to even things out.

and i disagree there is a cultural bias. blacks are part of the same culture whites are. yes, you have more black people from poorer families, but in all honesty what %age of LSAT test takers grew up in the hood? there are i'm sure, and i'd like to see a stat, but i'm inclined to believe that while their parents may have grew up in poverty, these kids live in the suburbs.


there's definitely more to black culture than growing up poor...




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