NCBE wags the Bar Exam Dog… in-person bar exams for February 2022
The NCBE is only going to provide in-person materials for the February 2022 exam. That means hardcopy materials. This is a strong leverage play. “OK, state bar licensing entities, you can do what you want, so long as you do what I say.” You want Uniform Bar Exam materials? Enjoy our hardcopy exams, people: you really didn’t want to think about having another remote exam, did you.
What does this mean for California? You want those MBE materials for 50% of your test, don’t you? Welcome back to in-person testing, people. California has about 60 days to decide right after the July 2021 Cal Bar Exam that, hey, it really was our idea, it really was! But we’re doing in-person testing for February 2022… and now you know.
NCBE’s press release from June 1 appears below.
NCBE Anticipates Return to In-Person Testing for February 2022 Bar Exam
MADISON, WISCONSIN, June 1, 2021—The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) announced today that February 2022 bar exam materials will be made available to jurisdictions for in-person testing only, unless restrictions by a public health authority prohibit a jurisdiction from administering the February exam in person.
NCBE is the not-for-profit corporation that develops the licensing tests used by most US jurisdictions for attorney admissions. In the second half of 2020 and throughout 2021, NCBE made bar exam materials available to jurisdictions for both in-person and remote exam administrations. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar exam had been administered by each jurisdiction in person, in a secure, proctored testing environment. The July 2021 bar exam is expected to be the last that includes a remote testing option; 29 jurisdictions plan to administer that exam remotely, while 24 will administer it in person.
NCBE has advocated for in-person testing as the best mode of administration of the bar exam. According to Beth Hill, NCBE Director of Test Development, Operations, and Security, “Remote exams have been a valuable stopgap for jurisdictions during this time, allowing examinees to take the test without having to gather in a larger group. However, remote exams create challenges for exam security and uniformity, and for this reason, we have consistently advocated for in-person testing as the best option whenever possible.”
Hill acknowledges, however, that both NCBE and jurisdictions must continue to monitor the public health landscape: “Throughout the pandemic, jurisdictions have worked closely with their state and local health authorities to ensure that examinees may take the bar exam consistent with each jurisdiction’s safety requirements. Although conditions appear to be improving, NCBE recognizes that any jurisdiction’s public health authority may establish that candidates cannot test in person. Should that occur, we are committed to working with that jurisdiction on a solution that will enable its candidates to take the bar exam.”
The National Conference of Bar Examiners serves bar admission authorities, courts, the legal education community, and candidates by providing high-quality assessment products, services, and research; character investigations; and informational and educational resources and programs. It promotes fairness, integrity, and best practices in bar admissions for the benefit and protection of the public in pursuit of its vision of a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession. For more information, visit the NCBE website at http://www.ncbex.org.