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The Daily Tar Heel

LSAT Questions Favor Whites, Says California Report

But the writers of the test say the report has serious flaws and is more propaganda than research.

The LSAT is one of the major factors that determines which, if any, law schools an applicant will be admitted to.

The report, performed by Testing for the Public, a California-based educational research group, compared the grade point averages and LSAT scores of 2,400 undergraduates who applied for admission to the University of California-Berkeley School of Law last year.

The report stated that the LSAT scores of black applicants were, on average, 9.2 points lower than the scores of their white counterparts who took the test the same year, attended the same undergraduate institution and had equivalent majors and GPAs.

David White, director of Testing for the Public, said the nine-point discrepancy could make the difference in whether applicants make it into the law schools of their choice.

The study also reported that the average scores of Latino and Asian test takers were 6.8 and 2.5 points, respectively, behind those of similar white test takers.

"The results of the study certainly indicate a bias," White said.

He said whites have an advantage when taking the LSAT because test writers field test potential questions and keep the ones that are answered correctly by the majority of students -- who are white.

But Ed Haggerty, a media relations specialist at the Law School Admission Council -- the organization that writes the LSAT -- said the research was faulty.

"We don't normally expect students to earn the same LSAT scores even if they made the same grades -- the LSAT and GPA measure two different things."

Haggerty said GPA measures whether students understand their courses, but the LSAT is a test of general knowledge and acquired skills.

He said research includes testing people of different races to ensure that no questions are culturally biased.

Winston Crisp, associate dean for student services at the UNC School of Law, said admissions officials consider factors other than LSAT scores. "We consider the LSAT equally weighted with GPA," he said. "The LSAT by itself isn't going to get anybody into law school."

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