Increase in 160s-170+ scorers! (2017-2018)

According to Spivey's data, there has been an overall increase in the number of applicants, specifically those scoring in the 160s to 170s, notably with a 262% increase in those who scored a 175! Does this mean that the cycle is going to be more competitive going forward, with the unlimited retake policy? How will schools treat splitters and reverse-splitters?

Heres the link: http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/december-2017-data/

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Comments

  • Paul CaintPaul Caint Alum Member
    edited December 2017 3521 karma

    Holy crapoli...

    Looks like this cycle is gonna be competitive...

    Not gonna lie, as someone with a high GPA but only a meh LSAT score right now, I'm kind of excited to see a higher number of higher scorers...maybe schools need someone like me to bump up their GPAs...

    But I wonder to what degree the high number of applicants can be attributed to GRE applicants. Maybe there are a bunch of people who are applying to Grad School, or are in Grad School currently, and are just throwing an application at law schools for the heck of it.

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    9361 karma

    Oh boy, I just have to accept my fate.....

    https://media.giphy.com/media/CfoiRXkfHSEEg/giphy.gif

  • AlexAlex Alum Member
    23929 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    According to Spivey's data, there has been an overall increase in the number of applicants, specifically those scoring in the 160s to 170s, notably with a 262% increase in those who scored a 175! Does this mean that the cycle is going to be more competitive going forward, with the unlimited retake policy? How will schools treat splitters and reverse-splitters?

    Heres the link: http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/december-2017-data/

    Well, yeah, it would only make sense it would be more competitive with those increases. I think this has more or less been a trend though, as more people are just simply retaking and studying way longer, which is a good thing in my opinion.

    It probably doesn't bode well for splitters going forward. Especially with more schools taking the GRE in the future. Reverse splitters don't and never really existed. With a high GPA/low LSAT, you're just not a competitive candidate in the way someone with a high LSAT is.

  • AllezAllez21AllezAllez21 Legacy Member Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    1917 karma

    @"Paul Caint" The data is about those with LSAT scores, so GRE applicants presumably aren't impacting these numbers.

    Also, regarding reverse splitters, I don't think this data is helpful to your chances. The increase in applicants with good LSAT scores is "bad news" for all applicants. Having a higher GPA protects you against those with your same LSAT score, but now presumably there are more people with both higher GPAs and higher LSATs. So before if a school had to go find a reverse splitter to maintain its GPA, it's now more likely that it can find a similar GPA with a higher LSAT.

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    I wonder how this affects URMs if at all...

  • Trust But VerifyTrust But Verify Alum Member
    427 karma

    Thanks for this.

  • olioliberolioliber Alum Member
    729 karma

    They have been giving accommodations left and right so that would explain the increase :/

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Ugh... knowing that I didn’t score my ultimate potential, feeling more and more like I might delay a cycle. :(

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    maybe we should all invest in bitcoins to offset the of increasingly competitive legal market :smile:

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    9361 karma

    @oberdysz said:
    They have been giving accommodations left and right so that would explain the increase :/

    Do you know if there is an increase in the number of accommodations? Or is it something that you feel?

  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma

    @akistotle said:

    @oberdysz said:
    They have been giving accommodations left and right so that would explain the increase :/

    Do you know if there is an increase in the number of accommodations? Or is it something that you feel?

    The documentation needed to get accommodations is still very regulated and all it does it provide a fair playing field for those in need and not all accommodations are time related, plus it's never going to be enough to explain a 200% increase.

  • Rigid DesignatorRigid Designator Alum Member
    edited December 2017 1091 karma

    If you take a look at the numbers one thing which jumps out is that the declines occur around what you might consider boundary scores. At the top end, the scores which saw declines in applicant numbers were 178, 170, 159, 150. Aside from students getting better at the test I bet that part of the explanation is that debt-pressure and the relaxing of the three-takes rule is causing people to consider re-takes where they previously weren't. For instance, a 170 makes you competitive everywhere not HYS and Columbia. But getting even a 171 or a 172 can push you in to Columbia's median, Chicago's 75th, Stanford's median etc. If you're at a 178, given unlimited takes, you might now like to roll the dice on a magic 180... And 159 is an obvious boundary before a 160 score.

  • Rigid DesignatorRigid Designator Alum Member
    1091 karma

    Also it's worth noting that the increase in applicants with 160-170+ correlates with an overall increase in the number of students taking the test. Also remember that law school class sizes are not fixed. They can make more or less seats available if they like. This means it's possible that the test is as hard as it ever was, and that the upcoming cycle will not be markedly more competitive than any other.

  • PositivePositive Alum Member
    edited December 2017 426 karma

    Here's new blog posting from Spivey:

    http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/calm/

    Summary from the article:
    "I think the end result will be increases are more toward "bit more" than "substantially more." Thus, it will likely be a bit more competitive a cycle, but not substantially more. " - Spivey

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    I wondering how such a dramatic increase could occur considering that the curve should account for these changes. Unless the improvement was so dramatic that they couldn’t resolve it with the curve? Or LSAC fucked up. Thoughts on this aspect?

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    Total # of test takers is way up.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    Is it also possible that more people who scored 170 plus in previous years, are now deciding to apply to law school?

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    Is it also possible that more people who scored 170 plus in previous years, are now deciding to apply to law school?

    Alternate cause. ;)

  • NotMyNameNotMyName Alum Member Sage
    5320 karma

    @goingfor99th

    Total # of test takers is way up.

    Ahh i see that discussed up above. i only skimmed through on my phone. thanks!

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    edited December 2017 9361 karma

    @oberdysz said:

    @stepharizona said:

    @akistotle said:

    @oberdysz said:
    They have been giving accommodations left and right so that would explain the increase :/

    Do you know if there is an increase in the number of accommodations? Or is it something that you feel?

    The documentation needed to get accommodations is still very regulated and all it does it provide a fair playing field for those in need and not all accommodations are time related, plus it's never going to be enough to explain a 200% increase.

    LSAC lost a lawsuit regarding accommodations and since then they have been very easy on people who request them. You can research it, it's not hard to get a1.5 or double the time if you have been accommodated on previous tests or have the money to get "tested". "Thinking lsat" guys often mention this. I just listened to an episode where a girl received time and a half due to ... anxiety.

    I believe that LSAC settled the lawsuit in 2014. I don't know how it would explain the change from the last cycle. Although the LSAC report does say that "Accommodated/Extra Time test takers tended to have slightly higher LSAT scores than the standard test-taking population," I don't think it can explain explain the 262% increase in those who scored a 175 even if there is an increase in the number of people getting accommodations.

  • olioliberolioliber Alum Member
    edited December 2017 729 karma

    .

  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma

    And if given double the time, average 154 lsater can easily get 175.

    This isn't true at all an accommodated test taker usually only improves 2.4 points with accommodated testing! It's in the research the LSAC did. I've helped students get accommodated testing when they need it and it's harder than it seems and it's NOT always additional time. Plus it's not going to make up the 200% difference.

    Some people have huge amounts of issues with anxiety to a point where it interferes with daily life activities. Who are we to judge her serverity simply because it's "anxiety". It's like yelling at someone who's walking perfectly fine from a handicap parking space and assuming their cheating. We have no idea how their being impacted.

    There are SO many unseen issues and if people request without previous accommodations it's going to be harder to be approved and even with approval it's not going to have that dramatic of an impact.

    Like I said the LSAC research had it equivalent to how much a retaker improves.

    And it's MUCH more difficult to get double time than 1.5. I helped a student I tutor with this and he had to move to Feb because even with prior documentation from his college he had to get his original evaluation to get double time. He truely needed the double time and OF COURSE he's going to do better with 70 min vs 35 min that's whys he's being accommodated.

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    edited December 2017 9361 karma

    @oberdysz said:

    @akistotle said:

    @oberdysz said:

    @stepharizona said:

    @akistotle said:

    @oberdysz said:
    They have been giving accommodations left and right so that would explain the increase :/

    Do you know if there is an increase in the number of accommodations? Or is it something that you feel?

    The documentation needed to get accommodations is still very regulated and all it does it provide a fair playing field for those in need and not all accommodations are time related, plus it's never going to be enough to explain a 200% increase.

    LSAC lost a lawsuit regarding accommodations and since then they have been very easy on people who request them. You can research it, it's not hard to get a1.5 or double the time if you have been accommodated on previous tests or have the money to get "tested". "Thinking lsat" guys often mention this. I just listened to an episode where a girl received time and a half due to ... anxiety.

    I believe that LSAC settled the lawsuit in 2014. I don't know how it would explain the change from the last cycle. Although the LSAC report does say that "Accommodated/Extra Time test takers tended to have slightly higher LSAT scores than the standard test-taking population," I don't think it can explain explain the 262% increase in those who scored a 175 even if there is an increase in the number of people getting accommodations.

    They actually lost the lawsuit. And if given double the time, average 154 lsater can easily get 175. Ill look into the accommodation numbers and see if I can figure out any trends. In the last year or so the accommodations have become a hot topic tho, and I can bet money on it that twice the number of people try to get them... and they succeed

    I think @stepharizona has already said everything what I wanted to say. Some people have severe anxiety disorders and they do need accommodation. I too think an average 154 test taker cannot easily get a 175 even with some additional time. I don't think my BR score was above 175 when my PT score was around 155.

  • dcdcdcdcdcdcdcdcdcdc Alum Member
    382 karma

    @oberdysz

    "A consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the United States."

    LSAC entered into a consent decree. They did not lose the lawsuit.

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    9361 karma

    @dcdcdcdcdc said:
    @oberdysz

    "A consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the United States."

    LSAC entered into a consent decree. They did not lose the lawsuit.

    Yea, Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Law School Admission Council, Inc. was resolved in 2014.
    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/law-school-admission-council-agrees-systemic-reforms-and-773-million-payment-settle-justice

  • olioliberolioliber Alum Member
    729 karma

    @akistotle said:

    @dcdcdcdcdc said:
    @oberdysz

    "A consent decree is an agreement or settlement that resolves a dispute between two parties without admission of guilt (in a criminal case) or liability (in a civil case), and most often refers to such a type of settlement in the United States."

    LSAC entered into a consent decree. They did not lose the lawsuit.

    Yea, Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Law School Admission Council, Inc. was resolved in 2014.
    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/law-school-admission-council-agrees-systemic-reforms-and-773-million-payment-settle-justice

    1.LSAC did not win and agreed to pay 7.3 millions in penalties- looks more like a loss to me.
    2. I'm not saying people with disabilities should not get extra time, what I'm saying is that a lot of people who already score high, or don't put a lot of effort into preparation, and have the money to pay to get tested get them( once again referring to the thinking lsat podcast, where Nathan and Ben talk about how many of their students get accommodations, but don't really need them.)... I see how underprivileged people with legitimate disabilities can get screwed here. Those tests are expensive!
    3. https://abovethelaw.com/2014/05/the-lsat-cant-discriminate-against-the-disabled-so-time-for-everybody-to-get-add/.

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    756 karma

    @oberdysz said:
    LSAC lost a lawsuit regarding accommodations and since then they have been very easy on people who request them. You can research it, it's not hard to get a1.5 or double the time if you have been accommodated on previous tests or have the money to get "tested". "Thinking lsat" guys often mention this. I just listened to an episode where a girl received time and a half due to ... anxiety.

    As someone who has a diagnosed anxiety disorder (who doesn't get accommodations because I've spent years in therapy and don't think it's intense enough anymore to justify), don't judge if you don't know what you're talking about. I get it sounds ridiculous, "oh you have anxiety about the test!? Join the club," but actual anxiety disorders are incredibly debilitating. This is like complaining that a paraplegic gets to cut the line at Disney World because you have a sprained ankle. Just because the same word is used to describe both (anxiety) does not mean they share the same level of intensity.

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    edited December 2017 756 karma

    @oberdysz said:

    I'm not dissing on people with disabilities... only the ones who fake it. And anxiety can be very fake-able...don't you think. I'm 100% behind honest disability suffering testers to get accommodations.

    Ooof, ok...Let's dive into this type of comment/argument with a timely analogy, sexual assault. One of the most common attacks on people claiming to have been assaulted is that it's so easy for anyone to just say they've been assaulted since in most instances is nigh impossible to prove one way or the other. Because of that those being accused have long used the defense, they are just faking it to attack me (this can be clearly seen in the Roy Moore scandal playing out right now). This has, unfortunately, proved quite a successful strategy leading to an environment where people don't come forward for fear of not being believed and opening themselves up to attack all over again.

    In this instance, claiming that anxiety is something that is easily "fake-able" produces the potential for a similar environment. Creating a social stigma associated with anxiety accommodations means that people with legitimate disabilities might not seek them out for fear of being labeled a "faker" by an admissions committee (or by their friends/future classmates). This means that they are being punished for something they cannot control because some people might possibly abuse the only recourse they have to level the playing field.

    You say you are 100% behind honest disability suffering testers getting accommodations, and yet you just made fun of a girl you've never met and assumed her faking her disability (or need for accommodation) because the one she claimed is potentially "fake-able". Don't you see how that's not ok and potentially damaging to everyone that shares that disability?

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    Just because there’s potential abuse of a system doesn’t mean it’s widely abused. I also listen to the Thinking LSAT and while they sometimes give good advice, that episode really irritated me. Those guys are also not disability experts and just because they thought some of their students abused the system doesn’t mean that was actually true. Much like the judgement above here on someone’s anxiety, they could have been way off base. The expert they interviewed also pushed back firmly saying that people with disabilities don’t immediately score well on the test, it’s a system designed for them to score how they would otherwise without that disability. And yes, also not every accommodation is extra time. There are extra breaks, the test being read aloud, many different scenarios. If you’re not the one with the disability or the professional doing the evaluation, it’s not your place to judge who needs accommodations. LSAC has to change their regulations for good reason; they were denying accommodations to people who truly needed them. I’m glad that they are allowing more folks to be accommodated. My only responsibility here is to score the best that I can and not worry about anyone else’s scores or test environments.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve also seen way more horror stories about proctors and things getting messed up for accommodated takers than the other rooms. Since accommodations take place at different times, I’ve seen scheduling mistakes, poor communication from proctors about when/where to show up, just a mess. So I’d almost say there’s as much disadvantage as advantage in getting accommodations. By the way, people who have double time creates a nearly 8 hour test! And they still only get 1 break to eat. Doesn’t sound pleasant to me.

    That said, again, accommodations doesn’t account for nearly this many people in the bump from last year to now. There’s obviously just more people taking the test. It’s a more competitive cycle than the last couple of years but Spivey’s latest blog also shows it’s still down something like 30-40% from the peak several years ago. It’s just bouncing back slightly.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @oberdysz
    First off, lying accomodated testers make an awful explanation for a rise in 175+ applications. The reason for this is that we know there hasn't been a dramatic rise in 175+ takers. We know this because the percentiles for each score are still roughly the same. What's happening is that more 175+ takers either from previous cycles or this cycle are applying so far this cycle. We should try to explain why that is happening, and accomodated testers don't help us explain it.

    Now that it is clear accomodations fraud isn't responsible for the spike in 175+ applications, we should probably address why your overall belief in widespread accomodations fraud is so problematic.

    I think a good analogy here is voter fraud. With no evidence of a significant problem, all across the country, states have passed anti-voting fraud bills. They do things like require people to have specific types of photo IDs to vote. Those without these IDs then have to jump through hoops to get them. Many do, but many invariably don't. And thus, the vote is suppressed.

    What you are proposing is to in some way make it harder for people to wrongfully get accomodations. You have no evidence that any large number of people are wrongfully getting accomodations. Whatever, increased hurdles we make to get people to prove their accomodations will result in fewer of them making it through these costly hurdles and getting the accomodations(which you admit they need).

    Further you say that having been tested shouldn't be enough to justify accomodation nor should a history of accomodations on other standardized tests. What system would you use? It's not easy to travel back in time and request fake accomodations on past tests where you didn't need them or to forsee the future well enough to claim accomodations you don't need on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT in high school so you can have more time on the LSAT. It is also invariably going to be true that in any system which relies on doctors to evaluate conditions which determine whether accomodations are needed those doctors could theoretically be corrupted. What are you going to do? You could create a centralized system of LSAT anxiety and other disability testers who are monitored to ensure they are not bribed. But who is going to bear the cost of that? Or maybe what you are actually angling for is just to make it incrementally harder for disabled people to get accomodations because you feel threatened by the thought of competing on a more level playing field with them.

    I don't feel threatened by them at all. In fact I feel more insecure about whether I will deserve the outcome I get, when whole classes and types of people are being systematically oppressed and held down beneath me.

  • akistotleakistotle Member 🍌🍌
    edited December 2017 9361 karma

    @"Mitchell-1" said:
    In this instance, claiming that anxiety is something that is easily "fake-able" produces the potential for a similar environment. Creating a social stigma associated with anxiety accommodations means that people with legitimate disabilities might not seek them out for fear of being labeled a "faker" by an admissions committee (or by their friends/future classmates).

    https://viralviralvideos.com/wp-content/uploads/GIF/2014/08/Yes-reaction-gifs.gif

    @"Leah M B" said:
    Just because there’s potential abuse of a system doesn’t mean it’s widely abused.

    https://media1.tenor.com/images/69194ded047da2151161a4469c14c3f7/tenor.gif

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    I think a good analogy here is voter fraud. With no evidence of a significant problem, all across the country, states have passed anti-voting fraud bills.

    https://media1.tenor.com/images/9a5cb7ca4358525b31ebbee830dd65d2/tenor.gif

  • brigittebrigitte Member
    427 karma

    @"Mitchell-1" said:

    @oberdysz said:

    I'm not dissing on people with disabilities... only the ones who fake it. And anxiety can be very fake-able...don't you think. I'm 100% behind honest disability suffering testers to get accommodations.

    Ooof, ok...Let's dive into this type of comment/argument with a timely analogy, sexual assault. One of the most common attacks on people claiming to have been assaulted is that it's so easy for anyone to just say they've been assaulted since in most instances is nigh impossible to prove one way or the other. Because of that those being accused have long used the defense, they are just faking it to attack me (this can be clearly seen in the Roy Moore scandal playing out right now). This has, unfortunately, proved quite a successful strategy leading to an environment where people don't come forward for fear of not being believed and opening themselves up to attack all over again.

    In this instance, claiming that anxiety is something that is easily "fake-able" produces the potential for a similar environment. Creating a social stigma associated with anxiety accommodations means that people with legitimate disabilities might not seek them out for fear of being labeled a "faker" by an admissions committee (or by their friends/future classmates). This means that they are being punished for something they cannot control because some people might possibly abuse the only recourse they have to level the playing field.

    You say you are 100% behind honest disability suffering testers getting accommodations, and yet you just made fun of a girl you've never met and assumed her faking her disability (or need for accommodation) because the one she claimed is potentially "fake-able". Don't you see how that's not ok and potentially damaging to everyone that shares that disability?

    You didn't address the point -- that it's an easily fakable disability. You argued that that type of argument produces a social stigma, which may or may not be true, but isn't it possible that that argument is both valid AND produces a social stigma? I don't mean to be pedantic, but it's not as simple an issue as you seem to believe.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    3072 karma

    I'm sure most people would never request an accommodation without a true need if for no other reason than that they respect those who do have a true need.

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    edited December 2017 756 karma

    @anonclsstudent said:

    @"Mitchell-1" said:

    @oberdysz said:

    I'm not dissing on people with disabilities... only the ones who fake it. And anxiety can be very fake-able...don't you think. I'm 100% behind honest disability suffering testers to get accommodations.

    Ooof, ok...Let's dive into this type of comment/argument with a timely analogy, sexual assault. One of the most common attacks on people claiming to have been assaulted is that it's so easy for anyone to just say they've been assaulted since in most instances is nigh impossible to prove one way or the other. Because of that those being accused have long used the defense, they are just faking it to attack me (this can be clearly seen in the Roy Moore scandal playing out right now). This has, unfortunately, proved quite a successful strategy leading to an environment where people don't come forward for fear of not being believed and opening themselves up to attack all over again.

    In this instance, claiming that anxiety is something that is easily "fake-able" produces the potential for a similar environment. Creating a social stigma associated with anxiety accommodations means that people with legitimate disabilities might not seek them out for fear of being labeled a "faker" by an admissions committee (or by their friends/future classmates). This means that they are being punished for something they cannot control because some people might possibly abuse the only recourse they have to level the playing field.

    You say you are 100% behind honest disability suffering testers getting accommodations, and yet you just made fun of a girl you've never met and assumed her faking her disability (or need for accommodation) because the one she claimed is potentially "fake-able". Don't you see how that's not ok and potentially damaging to everyone that shares that disability?

    You didn't address the point -- that it's an easily fakable disability. You argued that that type of argument produces a social stigma, which may or may not be true, but isn't it possible that that argument is both valid AND produces a social stigma? I don't mean to be pedantic, but it's not as simple an issue as you seem to believe.

    I would argue that it's not actually that fake able when diagnosed by a professional. Again, an anxiety disorder is not something people who don't suffer one can really understand well enough to fake (proven by the misconception that leads people to dismissing it as a real issue because they too get anxious about things in normal anxiety producing situations). The truth will out, as it were, but this doesn't matter.

    As @"Seeking Perfection" so smartly put it above, this is like voter fraud. It doesn't matter if it's fake able or not. You are trying to solve a problem with no evidence of its existence. Worse yet, trying to argue that a solution to another actual problem might need altering due to your hypothetical. Stop worrying about what others might be doing and start worrying about what you should be doing. That or ask LSAC if you can do research into whether or not people are abusing the system. If they are concerned maybe they'll even fund your study with all our application fees.

  • Charlesroy100Charlesroy100 Legacy Member
    edited December 2017 43 karma

    @"Mitchell-1" said:

    @anonclsstudent said:

    @"Mitchell-1" said:

    @oberdysz said:

    I'm not dissing on people with disabilities... only the ones who fake it. And anxiety can be very fake-able...don't you think. I'm 100% behind honest disability suffering testers to get accommodations.

    Ooof, ok...Let's dive into this type of comment/argument with a timely analogy, sexual assault. One of the most common attacks on people claiming to have been assaulted is that it's so easy for anyone to just say they've been assaulted since in most instances is nigh impossible to prove one way or the other. Because of that those being accused have long used the defense, they are just faking it to attack me (this can be clearly seen in the Roy Moore scandal playing out right now). This has, unfortunately, proved quite a successful strategy leading to an environment where people don't come forward for fear of not being believed and opening themselves up to attack all over again.

    In this instance, claiming that anxiety is something that is easily "fake-able" produces the potential for a similar environment. Creating a social stigma associated with anxiety accommodations means that people with legitimate disabilities might not seek them out for fear of being labeled a "faker" by an admissions committee (or by their friends/future classmates). This means that they are being punished for something they cannot control because some people might possibly abuse the only recourse they have to level the playing field.

    You say you are 100% behind honest disability suffering testers getting accommodations, and yet you just made fun of a girl you've never met and assumed her faking her disability (or need for accommodation) because the one she claimed is potentially "fake-able". Don't you see how that's not ok and potentially damaging to everyone that shares that disability?

    You didn't address the point -- that it's an easily fakable disability. You argued that that type of argument produces a social stigma, which may or may not be true, but isn't it possible that that argument is both valid AND produces a social stigma? I don't mean to be pedantic, but it's not as simple an issue as you seem to believe.

    I would argue that it's not actually that fake able when diagnosed by a professional. Again, an anxiety disorder is not something people who don't suffer one can really understand well enough to fake (proven by the misconception that leads people to dismissing it as a real issue because they too get anxious about things in normal anxiety producing situations). The truth will out, as it were, but this doesn't matter.

    As a medical professional, shit disturber, and devil's advocate, I'm not going to take a stance on the issue here, but I do understand both sides. One comment I will make though is that being diagnosed by a professional is not much of a hurdle to cross, especially when a high LSAT can be life changing. Over-diagnosis may be a real thing, just look at the autism case. There may be plenty of folks who are on prescribed stimulants or anti-anxiety meds when just a 10 min meditation would be just as beneficial. Not trying to bring up a big pharma debate, but knowing motives can be beneficial to understanding trends.

    Also just because there are real folks with disabilities does not exclude the possibility of fakers. The questions that may be of benefit is how many fakers are there? Perhaps it's so small that it's irrelevant. It's not like these people take the test and then announce to the world that they didn't really have a disability. Trying to go after these people, in my opinion, is a futile endeavor. Your time will be better spent improving your own score.

    THE BIGGER PICTURE:

    Lets look to other countries that have similar trends in standardized tests. When so many people are brilliant, as in this case, eventually there is just less opportunity, even if you "Deserve" it. What do you do in that case? You go somewhere that has opportunity and openings. This is a problem with a rise in population plain and simple. Schools just have to increase class sizes or new schools will have to be created. Demand increases with relatively slow increase in supply probably means higher tuition costs.

    I don't know the solution to this but I would bet that this trend is here to stay and will only get worse.

  • edited December 2017 99 karma

    On the one hand, I'm not satisfied with the explanation that accommodations are significantly contributing to the 175-180 score range. We simply don't have the data to know whether or not this is true. However, I don't think think the analogy about voter fraud is appropriate considering we do have data that indicates there is a problem.

    To start, we know from a 2012 LSAC report on accommodations that people with extra time accommodations tend to have higher scores than the rest of the population. In other words, extra time does appear to give even those with documented disabilities a quantifiable advantage over the normal testing population. This fact is also true for accommodated extra time repeat test takers, who also show higher increases than average test takers. Note this is for individuals who take the test twice, both times with extra time.

    Common sense would also dictate that if the system worked correctly, accommodations would (a) only be given to individuals who needed them and (b) would produce average outcomes on a par with the general population. In other words, while a few people might do significantly better or might game the system, on average the outcomes should be the same between accommodated test takers and the general population. This isn't the case which points to a systematic problem in either the documentation process, the accommodations themselves, or the approval process. Assuming that accomodations are appropriate, that means either (a) people are being overdiagnosed, (b) people are gaming the system, (c) LSAC isn't doing their job in acting as gatekeepers, or (d) some combination of the three.

    Finally, I don't see how it is conceivable that setting the bar lower for approving accommodations would make an already unjust process (at least from a distributive perspective) have more equitable outcomes. It seems more conceivable that lowering the bar would make it easier for people to game the system or would give a higher percentage of the population an advantage.

    Let's be real here... People taking the LSAT are going to be lawyers. We treat this popualtion like saints, but people game systems all the time (lawyers included).

  • manneeagle57manneeagle57 Alum Member
    12 karma

    @"Leah M B" said:
    Ugh... knowing that I didn’t score my ultimate potential, feeling more and more like I might delay a cycle. :(

    Yeah I'm delaying too :( I have a high GPA and low ish score so I decided to take it again in Feb and apply once the 2019 app opens next September. Which will be easy because I already compiled my entire application...

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    edited December 2017 756 karma

    @zmeeker91 said:

    To start, we know from a 2012 LSAC report on accommodations that people with extra time accommodations tend to have higher scores than the rest of the population. In other words, extra time does appear to give even those with documented disabilities a quantifiable advantage over the normal testing population. This fact is also true for accommodated extra time repeat test takers, who also show higher increases than average test takers. Note this is for individuals who take the test twice, both times with extra time.

    Let's take a look at that report

    From that report:

    Accommodated/Extra Time test takers tended to have slightly higher LSAT scores than the standard test-taking population, while Accommodated/Standard Time test takers tended to have lower LSAT scores than the standard test-taking population.

    You are reading way too much into this sentence from the report. They tend to score slightly higher. This would make sense. Why would someone go through the trouble of requesting accommodations if they knew they were just going to score on the lower end even with more time. The larger the time accommodation's impact on your score the more likely you are to request and actually go through taking the test.

    Also from that report:

    Test takers who tested twice under Accommodated/Extra Time testing conditions exhibited slightly higher score gains on average than is typically observed for the standard test-taking population, while those who switched from standard to Accommodated/Extra Time testing conditions exhibited very high score gains on average.

    Again, this would make sense if the population in question have the ability to be higher scorers as speculated above. Having extra time doesn't mean they are immune from first time nerves like everyone else. So if you take a population of people who have the ability to score higher than average and give them a second chance, it wouldn't be unreasonable for them to have slightly higher gains than the average on a repeat take.

    Wouldn't it also make sense that people who take studying for the lsat more seriously will also be more aware of accommodation opportunities and thus more likely to take advantage if they need them?

    You are falling into a common logical trap, seeing a correlation and assuming causation because you can talk yourself into a believable scenario. That report itself even states it's not making any attempt to claim what you do. It is complete conjecture as are all my explanations above!

    And again, from the report:

    Note that the trends presented in this report are purely descriptive in nature. While trends with regard to the accommodated test-taking population have been described and compared to the standard test-taking population, the explanation of the underlying causes of any differences observed is beyond the scope of this report.

    The point is there exist a lot of possible explanations for those numbers, so don't believe one just because that explanation gives you someone to blame other than yourself for your eventual outcomes in applying (which at this point in the cycle could still be really good!).

    Link to the report for anyone else who wants to take a gander
    LSAC Report

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    756 karma

    @manneeagle57 said:

    @"Leah M B" said:
    Ugh... knowing that I didn’t score my ultimate potential, feeling more and more like I might delay a cycle. :(

    Yeah I'm delaying too :( I have a high GPA and low ish score so I decided to take it again in Feb and apply once the 2019 app opens next September. Which will be easy because I already compiled my entire application...

    Now this is a good comment! So a plausible reason for the increase in scores at the beginning of this period very well might be because of people thinking like you. They all decided to hold off on applying until the very beginning of the next cycle when their opportunities for admittance/scholarship money would be at their highest. It'll be interesting to see how the numbers all shake out by the end of this cycle and if the increase holds or if it starts to taper off.

  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Alum Member Sage 🍌
    26297 karma

    I know a number of folks like myself who weren't quite happy last cycle that decided to delay in order to retake once the rules were changed to allow for unlimited takes. My 176 is definitely a score that would not be in the applicant pool this cycle without that. My guess is that's a lot of it. Sorry! The other thing to keep in mind is that 175+ scores were way down last year. So a bit of that jump is just going to be self correction.

  • acsimonacsimon Alum Member
    1263 karma

    I would just say that there is a major difference between this and the voter fraud analogy: the payoff distributions are totally different. I can see why someone might be more incentivized to lie about accommodations, but I'm unsure why anyone would try to explain the rise in scores in terms of it. Given the way the test is, widespread fraud wouldn't effect the percentiles tied to each raw score.

    Anyways, it would be difficult to study the fraud in this case, but I also think that there are antecedent reasons to believe that it isn't at all widespread. So even independent worries (independent of the rise in scores, that is) seem misplaced.--A.c.S

  • AnthonyScaliaAnthonyScalia Alum Member
    edited December 2017 330 karma

    I think the comments regarding accommodations may be overlooking a lot of salient circumstances. Without the raw data on which to run statistical analysis, we have little reason to believe that score differences between the accommodated testing population, or any other testing population for that matter, is due to unfair advantage.

    The influence of self-selected groups cannot be understated. An obvious example is Mylsn.info: the averages in their database are well above the national figures because the majority of people who use the tool and report their scores will be highly motivated, generally successful individuals.

    When looking at students given accommodations, we have to consider that individuals who end up taking the LSAT with accommodations are an exclusive subset of people who could potentially take the LSAT with accommodations. The process for requesting accommodations is said to be long and effort-intensive. Such a barrier likely weeds out a large portion of the subset that isn't strongly intent on taking the LSAT/going to law school. One also has to consider that accommodation-warranting students are less likely than the general population to pursue graduate school in the first place; students who are good candidates for grad school in spite of their disabilities are going to be skewed slightly towards the higher end of aptitude.

    I think a decent (albeit potentially controversial) comparison is that of first and second generation immigrant students. In particular, Asian-American students are stereotyped as being 'smart,' and many pools of data are congruent with that sentiment. Does that mean that Asians just have superior intellectual DNA? Of course not.

    Because of barriers such as immigration laws and financial requirements, people who immigrate to the US often do not represent the population distribution of their homelands. They skew towards being wealthier and more educated since otherwise they may not have had the opportunity to emigrate. Consequently, only a select subgroup of individuals are reflected in data about the ethnicity as a whole.

    Likewise, students who test with accommodations are a curated group of the greater accommodation-warranting population. Is it still possible that accommodated testers are scoring disproportionately higher than the skew of their self-selected populace would merit? Sure. But to jump to that conclusion without supporting data is unfounded and dangerous.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @zmeeker91 said:
    On the one hand, I'm not satisfied with the explanation that accommodations are significantly contributing to the 175-180 score range. We simply don't have the data to know whether or not this is true. However, I don't think think the analogy about voter fraud is appropriate considering we do have data that indicates there is a problem.

    To start, we know from a 2012 LSAC report on accommodations that people with extra time accommodations tend to have higher scores than the rest of the population. In other words, extra time does appear to give even those with documented disabilities a quantifiable advantage over the normal testing population. This fact is also true for accommodated extra time repeat test takers, who also show higher increases than average test takers. Note this is for individuals who take the test twice, both times with extra time.

    Common sense would also dictate that if the system worked correctly, accommodations would (a) only be given to individuals who needed them and (b) would produce average outcomes on a par with the general population. In other words, while a few people might do significantly better or might game the system, on average the outcomes should be the same between accommodated test takers and the general population. This isn't the case which points to a systematic problem in either the documentation process, the accommodations themselves, or the approval process. Assuming that accomodations are appropriate, that means either (a) people are being overdiagnosed, (b) people are gaming the system, (c) LSAC isn't doing their job in acting as gatekeepers, or (d) some combination of the three.

    Finally, I don't see how it is conceivable that setting the bar lower for approving accommodations would make an already unjust process (at least from a distributive perspective) have more equitable outcomes. It seems more conceivable that lowering the bar would make it easier for people to game the system or would give a higher percentage of the population an advantage.

    Let's be real here... People taking the LSAT are going to be lawyers. We treat this popualtion like saints, but people game systems all the time (lawyers included).

    This is a clear display of the distinction between causation and correlation. You have a correlation between slightly higher scores and accomodations.

    From this you directly infer causation, that the time accomodations are giving accomodated testers an advantage over unaccomodated testers.

    What if we instead were to assume the following very reasonable assumptions? It is costly in time and money to request accomodations. It is costly in terms of time and money to prepare for the LSAT. The ability and willingness to pay the time and monetary cost of requesting an accomodation and to pay the time and monetary cost of studying effectively for the test are positively correlated. Perhaps people with money, time, or determination are more likely to both study extensively for the LSAT and request accomodations. In that case, wouldn't we expect accomodated testers to study more on average? Further, if studying has a positive return in terms of LSAT score, wouldn't we expect accomodated testers to score at least slightly above average if their accomodation were to neutralize the effect of their disability?

    Finally, if we raise the cost of applying for an accomodation further to stop fraud, we would expect the accomodated score to increase further(since only those disabled people with even more time, money, and determination would be able to go through the process and therefore would likely prepare better and score even higher on average) providing more "evidence" of fraud to justify our continued actions.

    I'm not assuming that anyone is a saint. I'm assuming that the burden of proof rests on people who claim a system is being defrauded to provide proof of a substantial problem before asking to impose an ill defined, vague, and costly solution that will have the inevitable effect of denying underprivledged disabled people access to law school.

    How about instead of raising the standard for proof of a disability, you pursue an alternative solution which doesn't have appaling distributional consequences? For example, you could go to your state bar and get them to announce that their policy is to disbar anyone discovered to lie in the admission's process including on an application for extra time on a standardized test. If you want, you could even ask them to invest money into these investigations/witch hunts. That would discourage cheating and wouldn't primarilly disadvantage poor disabled people. Alternatively, you could just study for the LSAT, confident that you can outcompete anyone on a level playing field and beat the tiny handful of people with such an enormous inferiority complex that they felt provoked to cheat on a standardized test which can be perfected through studying.

  • goingfor99thgoingfor99th Member
    edited December 2017 3072 karma

    @zmeeker91 said:
    On the one hand, I'm not satisfied with the explanation that accommodations are significantly contributing to the 175-180 score range. We simply don't have the data to know whether or not this is true. However, I don't think think the analogy about voter fraud is appropriate considering we do have data that indicates there is a problem.

    To start, we know from a 2012 LSAC report on accommodations that people with extra time accommodations tend to have higher scores than the rest of the population. In other words, extra time does appear to give even those with documented disabilities a quantifiable advantage over the normal testing population. This fact is also true for accommodated extra time repeat test takers, who also show higher increases than average test takers. Note this is for individuals who take the test twice, both times with extra time.

    Common sense would also dictate that if the system worked correctly, accommodations would (a) only be given to individuals who needed them and (b) would produce average outcomes on a par with the general population. In other words, while a few people might do significantly better or might game the system, on average the outcomes should be the same between accommodated test takers and the general population. This isn't the case which points to a systematic problem in either the documentation process, the accommodations themselves, or the approval process. Assuming that accomodations are appropriate, that means either (a) people are being overdiagnosed, (b) people are gaming the system, (c) LSAC isn't doing their job in acting as gatekeepers, or (d) some combination of the three.

    Finally, I don't see how it is conceivable that setting the bar lower for approving accommodations would make an already unjust process (at least from a distributive perspective) have more equitable outcomes. It seems more conceivable that lowering the bar would make it easier for people to game the system or would give a higher percentage of the population an advantage.

    Let's be real here... People taking the LSAT are going to be lawyers. We treat this popualtion like saints, but people game systems all the time (lawyers included).

    You assume that those with disabilities don't perform better on the LSAT v. the average LSAT test-taking population for some legitimate reason. I'm not really disagreeing with you, but I wanted to point that out. Logical fallacies are a no-no.

    I think the voter fraud analogy is a good one, personally.

  • @"Mitchell-1" said:
    You are reading way too much into this sentence from the report. They tend to score slightly higher. This would make sense. Why would someone go through the trouble of requesting accommodations if they knew they were just going to score on the lower end even with more time. The larger the time accommodation's impact on your score the more likely you are to request and actually go through taking the test.

    My point is that a fair outcome would be one where the outcomes for both populations would be on a par, not lower. No matter how "slight" (notice those are the LSAC's words who want the process to seem fair) the difference is, the fact there appears to be a statistically significant difference accross multiple tests points to an advantage (can't say for sure because I don't have the raw data). I'm not claiming that it is predictive, just in the past the outcomes of giving people extra time could be viewed as unfair from a distributive perspective.

    @"Mitchell-1" said:
    The point is there exist a lot of possible explanations for those numbers, so don't believe one just because that explanation gives you someone to blame other than yourself for your eventual outcomes in applying (which at this point in the cycle could still be really good!).

    Totally agree with the first part. Perhaps I stated things too strongly. I didn't mean to give the impression that I thought any one explanation was conclusive. However the second part is a bit of a strawman. I'm not blaming anyone for the outcomes of my applications (didn't even bring that up). I was merely pointing out that there is data that might indicate there is an underlying problem.

    @AnthonyScalia
    The influence of self-selected groups cannot be understated. An obvious example is Mylsn.info: the averages in their database are well above the national figures because the majority of people who use the tool and report their scores will be highly motivated, generally successful individuals.

    This is a good point that I didn't initially consider. However, because I feel it necessary to defend my initial position, I think you make a lot more assumptions by saying that this group is significantly different from the general population in terms of their academic abilities, work habits and etc. It's possible this group is just harder working and more qualitied, but nothing indicates that is the case.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @zmeeker91

    This is a good point that I didn't initially consider. However, because I feel it necessary to defend my initial position, I think you make a lot more assumptions by saying that this group is significantly different from the general population in terms of their academic abilities, work habits and etc. It's possible this group is just harder working and more qualitied, but nothing indicates that is the case.

    They had the time and knowledge to navigate the system to get an accomodation. Doesn't that imply at the very least a little additional knowledge of the LSAT compared to the average applicant? Isn't it probable that they also know other things about the test like that it is possible to better your performance through study?

  • Leah M BLeah M B Alum Member
    8392 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    @zmeeker91

    This is a good point that I didn't initially consider. However, because I feel it necessary to defend my initial position, I think you make a lot more assumptions by saying that this group is significantly different from the general population in terms of their academic abilities, work habits and etc. It's possible this group is just harder working and more qualitied, but nothing indicates that is the case.

    They had the time and knowledge to navigate the system to get an accomodation. Doesn't that imply at the very least a little additional knowledge of the LSAT compared to the average applicant? Isn't it probable that they also know other things about the test like that it is possible to better your performance through study?

    I think if there is an argument that accommodated testers score higher than the general population, this is one of the most plausible explanations. We all know that at any given administration, there are a not insignificant number of folks who did not prepare at all and took it more or less on a whim. That will drive stats down to some degree. However, someone who takes the time to prepare documentation and work with professionals in order to received an accommodation has likely invested a lot of time in this process, and has probably also been studying. That alone would make the average score higher than that of the non-accommodated testers. This makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Mitchell-1Mitchell-1 Legacy Member
    edited December 2017 756 karma

    @zmeeker91 said:
    However the second part is a bit of a strawman. I'm not blaming anyone for the outcomes of my applications (didn't even bring that up). I was merely pointing out that there is data that might indicate there is an underlying problem.

    That's fair. Though I don't think it's too large a leap to think the reason you are so attached to this particular answer is because you are worried about how this all will affect your chances at admittance/scholarship, and that's why you are ignoring the clear correlation/causation trap you've entered into. The report clearly states the need for caution due to self-selection and that it does not pretend to report cause. Your answer relies on one interpretation without any evidence as to why it's more likely than the others. But I apologize for attributing motive to you.

    Again, maybe that report does show some slight advantage. Or maybe it shows that LSAC needs to do a better job of advertising the accommodations to a certain group of people who aren't currently using them. Or maybe it shows that their accommodation process is still too cumbersome and thus only those most likely to score high will follow through.

    My reason for attacking your argument despite your hedging ("might indicate", "possible that", etc), is that just wildly speculating reasons can cause damage itself. Again with voter fraud. People speculate that voter fraud is possible. Sure, it's possible, but that doesn't mean it's happening. People start worrying about voter fraud. Voter fraud laws are passed to quell the fear. Those laws disenfranchise voters and cause actual harm despite solving a problem that only existed in people's heads.

    Had you just said, "there is this report that shows a difference we wouldn't expect from representative samples. We should probably look into this further to see if we can figure out a cause," I wouldn't have minded. What you did instead was say, "there is a difference and this could be because of X. This whole system is unjust and we are just making it worse," and implied that something needs to change to fix your hypothetical problem. All while relying on stereotypes about lawyers as further evidence you must be right.

  • acsimonacsimon Alum Member
    1263 karma

    Of course, accommodated test takers are a population that probably has distinctive properties as compared to the non-accommodated test taking population. It is reasonable to suppose that, on average, these folks prepare more than others. However, that doesn't do anything to the fact that there is a definite relation between the time available in taking a LSAT test and the accuracy on said test. The question seems to be whether these improvements are (a) in line with making the "playing field" even, and (b) whether the provision of accomodations under standard procedures facilitate (a).

    I still do not get why this is such a big topic of debate without more though. It sounds like unwarranted speculation, and of a cynical, mean-spirited sort.--A.c.S

  • edited December 2017 99 karma

    @Mitchell-1
    Where do I assume causation exactly? By pointing to an unfair advantage I'm merely pointing to an objective outcome and judging the merit of that outcome. I'm not even really speculating about causation. One simple question: Would this group receive the scores they do without the extra time? I can say with high degree of certainty that no, the group probably wouldn't. Moreover, these scores are objectively better outcomes, which constitutes an advantaged position. Therefore, extra time contributes to an advantage over the normal population. Never claimed this was the sole factor.

    If you want, I could design an experiment where (a) people were tested under normal conditions and (b) people were given more time. I can guarantee I could create a predictive model that uses time as one of the primary inputs. I just thought for the sake of argument we could assume this to be the case.

    Anyways, didn't mean to create a big debate over this, and I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. I believe that people should seek accommodations if they believe/know they need them. But, I also think that out of respect for those individuals and everyone who takes the LSAT, we should take gaming of accommodations seriously. It does happen.

This discussion has been closed.