FROM: Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions, Jackson, MS
May 9, 2003
The Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions announced today that it has been informed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) that an inadvertent clerical error was made in the scoring of one (1) question on the Multistate Bar Examination during its February administration.
"I am pleased to be able to say that the scoring error has had no effect on the results of the February bar examination," stated Board of Bar Admissions Chairman Jim Mozingo of Jackson. "The Board has reviewed the revised scores of each applicant who was affected by the grading error and determined that the error did not result in any change to the pass/fail results of any applicant. Everyone who was certified by the Board at its April 17 meeting as being eligible for admission to the Mississippi Bar remains certified."
The Multistate Bar Examination, known as the MBE, is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and scored by the nationally known testing agency, ACT, Inc. Mississippi, along with forty-seven (47) other states, uses the test, known as the MBE, as a major component of its bar examination.
Bar Admissions Administrator Linda Knight went on to explain that the MBE is made up of two hundred (200) multiple choice questions, and that a single answer amounts to only one-half of one percent of the MBE. According to Ms. Knight, "The MBE composes only forty percent (40%) of the points on the Mississippi bar exam. Therefore, the change in scoring of a single question was unlikely to have had any effect on whether an applicant passed or failed the examination."
Ms. Knight also pointed out that not all applicants' scores were affected by the clerical error. "The Board is informed that the error resulted when the NCBE reviewed the results of the MBE after it was given in February and determined to give credit for a second response on one of the multiple choice questions rather than give credit for only one response. However, when ACT manually keyed in the additional correct answer to its scoring machinery, "D" was keyed in rather than "C" as the additional correct answer."
Every MBE in the country was re-scored after the clerical error was discovered. Revised results have now gone out to all MBE-using jurisdictions.
"We appreciate the diligence of the NCBE in its efforts to insure that its testing products, including the MBE, are of the highest quality and that their scoring is completely dependable," said Board Vice-Chairman Karen Sawyer of Gulfport.
The Mississippi Bar Examination is given in February and July each year. The purpose of the examination is to establish the level of legal learning and reasoning which applicants to the Bar have attained and whether they meet the required standard of competence to practice law in Mississippi. In addition to testing an applicant's learning and reasoning skills, the Board of Bar Admissions also must pass on an applicant's moral character and fitness to practice law before issuing a certification of eligibility for admission to the Bar to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Board of Bar Admissions is an arm of the Mississippi Supreme Court and operates under its supervision.
A more detailed explanation of the scoring issue can be found on the website of the National Conference of Bar Examiners at www.ncbex.org. For further information, contact Bar Admissions Administrator Linda Knight at 601-354-6055.