Oct. 18, 2017
In February 2017, the California Supreme Court directed the State Bar to conduct a series of studies of the bar exam and present recommendations by December 2017. The State Bar submitted the results of a Standard Setting Study a review of the passing score and a series of options to the Court in September 2017. On Oct. 18, 2017 the Supreme Court issued its response.
"We thank the Court for providing swift guidance in response to the passing score study so that the State Bar has certainty for grading the July 2017 bar exam,” said Michael G. Colantuono, President of the State Bar of California.
The Standard Setting Study formed the basis of the Supreme Court’s action today. The next study in the series – the Content Validation Study – is designed to evaluate whether the breadth and depth of content on the California bar examination is properly aligned with the knowledge, skills and abilities expected of an entry-level attorney. That study will be submitted for public comment this week. The final study currently planned is the Law School Bar Exam Performance Study, a statewide data collection effort to evaluate the factors responsible for the decline of bar pass rates in recent years
Under a provision this year’s SB 36 and a recently adopted Rule of Court, the State Bar will conduct an evaluation of the bar exam at least every seven years to determine if it properly tests for minimally needed competence for entry-level attorneys and to recommend whether the passing score should be adjusted.
The California Supreme Court holds the ultimate authority to admit attorneys to the practice of law in California and to set the bar exam passing score.