The Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners voted today to approve the NCBE Testing Task Force’s recommendations for the next generation of the bar exam. The recommendations, which were announced at the beginning of January, are the culmination of a three-year study by the Task Force to ensure that the bar exam continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing profession. Answers to many frequently asked questions about the recommendations are available on the Task Force’s website; a final, comprehensive report will be published this spring.
The Board’s approval paves the way for work to begin on the implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations. Major steps of the implementation will include
- developing content specifications identifying scope of coverage;
- drafting new types of questions for integrated testing of knowledge and skills;
- ensuring accessibility for candidates with disabilities;
- field-testing new item formats and new exam content;
- conducting analyses and review to ensure fairness for diverse populations of candidates;
- evaluating options for in-person computer delivery of the exam;
- establishing scoring processes and psychometric methods for equating/scaling scores;
- developing test administration policies and procedures;
- assisting jurisdictions to prepare and supporting them in activities such as setting passing score requirements and amending rules to align with changes to the exam; and
- providing study materials and sample test questions to help candidates prepare.
The process is expected to take four to five years to complete. Implementation will be conducted in a systematic, transparent, and collaborative manner, informed by input from and participation by stakeholders, and guided by best practices and the professional standards for high-stakes testing. A dedicated website will be created to keep stakeholders informed and involved as the process unfolds.