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This post discusses an ABA Journal article entitled, Bar Exam Does Little to Ensure Attorney Competence, Say Lawyers in Diploma Privilege State. It quotes a former Wisconsin State Bar president saying that “whether [Wisconsin law school graduates] passed a bar exam … has no bearing on their lawyering abilities or character” or ensures competency. They are “swords of Damocles” hanging over schools’ and students’ heads. They privilege some doctrinal courses and discourage students from taking practice-oriented courses because those courses will not help them pass the bar exam. Bar exams entrench a pedagogy based on memorization of a lot of complex legal rules. They produce one-shot high-stakes summative assessments of dubious validity based on answering hypothetical exam questions. Bar exams provide binary results – pass or fail – and we can’t have confidence in the validity of results within a range above and below the threshold for passing. Other than that, they’re terrific.