Aptitude test for aspiring lawyers will reduce diversity, report claims

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  • I don't get this at all - why would someone from a privileged background perform better than others? Yes private school costs a lot, but reality is teachers are often professionally trained, not trained as teachers - so no extra benefit there, but classes are often much smaller. The main thing is that ‘prep time’ is forced on you daily, so you do a lot of work every evening without fail - If you make the effort to do 2-3 hours of study a night off your own back, there is no reason why you won’t perform just as well as those from ‘privileged backgrounds!’

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  • You say that, but if you can afford to spend evenings 'studying for several hours' then good for you, but some of us have to get evening jobs and weekend jobs to support ourselves - no time to study, hence why those from 'privileged backgrounds tend to perform better than others'!

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  • I sat the trial test and it was useless. Completely misses the point that lawyers trade in shades of gray. Write an essay don't give us A B C answers let us argue!

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  • Exaclty .....and not only that ......if ur parents are lawyers then they can do the test for you while most of us cant use our parents coz they don't even speak English

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  • The benefits of a privileged backgrounds often disappear. State school kids out perform public school kids of apparently similar abilities given the same opportunities at University. (See, here:http://lawyerwatch.wordpress.com) for more detail.

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  • That in addition to the fact that those from privileged backgrounds tend to have attended educational establishments that proactively prepare students for this kind of testing.
    With the amount of competition for places now, there seems to have been a shift back towards looking at the legal work experience that one has accrued and this in turn means that unless you can afford to take weeks, possibly months, out of your summer to intern at the Hague or the UN, you can kiss goodbye to that pupillage or Magic Circle training contract. Diversity will start to nosedive again soon.

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  • Properly constructed and fair 'aptitude' tests can not only make sure that the right peole get onto LPC, but also avoid the anguish of those who embark on the course and realise that they are unsuited having spent time and money.
    There is a consistent problem with psychometric tests where some groups do less well. That may because they haven't had experience of such tests, because the test has been unfairly constructed or even simply the title the test has been given which can induce significant test scores ( See Steele and Aronson, 1995, and a more recent paper by Shia et al). Tests should never be the sole source of information which is why perhaps Chris Dewberry is alerting us to the danager of taking test scores as 'true' and a more rounded picture of the individual is needed. However, well constructed, carefuly used and well monitored tests can add a critical piece of information to the decision making. But beware that we often we see a curvilear between intelligence and performance: the brightest people can sometimes not have the other, softer skills required.

    Research also shows that some impoversihed backgrounds can lead to neurological changes as a result of stress hormones which can impact test performance but that given the opportunity (which harshly applied testing can remove) the brain is plastic enough to recover.

    If this new test is introduced it needs properly piloting and then monitoring to make sure any group differences can be understood and not simply rushed through and the monitoring then forgotten.

    I get frequent requests to prepare students for professional entrance exams, invariably from well off middle class parents whose kids have alraedy had just about every advantage in life. I am not convinced they are better for that or that someone with a better grounding in a wider range of people's lives might bring a better perspective to the law.

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  • I'm so pleased Dr. Pete Jones has highlighted in such eloquent terms the problems of "aptitude" testing.

    I sincerely hope the LSB takes on board such concerns, particularly when they are voiced by those with experience in this field.

    It's not unknown for an Oxford University maths graduate to fail a psychometric test.

    Tests if they are to be introduced should form only one part of the selection process.

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  • Forgot to say, that there are already tests which examine how people can tease out assumptions, inferences, deductions and interpretations which I would have thought were valid tools and at least one is seen as 'culture fair' as it tests your ability to learn the rules governing these facets.

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