Law School Discussion

LSAT 163 = IQ 132

LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« on: April 17, 2004, 12:41:07 AM »
From the MENSA's website it looks like it is so ... does anyone though know whether there are studies correlating the two tests?

Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2004, 01:19:24 AM »
I don't think they are equivilent, but MENSA will allow you to use your LSAT score to qualify for membership.

So everyone w/ a 163 and higher can join MENSA.


Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2004, 01:49:00 AM »
So everyone w/ a 163 and higher can join MENSA

Obviously. I would also add that the first LSAT-type test in 1947 was based upon the original IQ test and data collected by the Army to test recruits in World War I. Such data had also been used to prove that Eastern European immigrants and African Americans were less intelligent than Northern and Western Europeans. The original LSAT had historical roots in efforts to substantiate racial inequality and nativism.

Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2004, 02:53:14 AM »
I just don't get this; why do you begin to post "equivalencies" like this one and trying to make it look like these tests actually measure someone's intelligence; if this last term has some well-defined meaning, of course! LSAT, GMAT, GRE and the like are just some tests schools use to facilitate their work -- wrongly so -- when choosing candidates to be accepted. They are not really useful in determining a person's intelligence or the likelihood of success in law/graduate school.

It's complete bull. My friend has an IQ cert. by MENSA last year at 137, and his pre-test at the testing prep was horrible. Granted, he went late and only had about 10 minutes to complete the first section, but it was still really bad. Hopefully, the next test will be a better judgement of the real test. He plan to be there early just in case. Nevertheless, after law school and in life in general, the LSAT means jack

In short, all the testing industry, inlcluding our dear LSAT, is bullsh*t.


Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2004, 03:04:44 AM »
It's no secret that in the past few years Mensa has
suffered from horrible leadership and has been
hemorrhaging members like crazy. I'm unsurprised
that in their rush to recruit they're taking LSAT
and ASVAB scores.

« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2004, 03:07:12 AM »

An applicant’s Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score has become the most determinative factor in the admission process. The LSAT is now widely used as a predictor of success throughout law school and on the bar exam, purposes neither contemplated nor advocated by the test-makers themselves. Most disturbingly, over-reliance on the LSAT serves as a significant barrier to achieving excellence and diversity in law schools.


Notwithstanding the protestations of the LSAC and its psychometricians, who merely sought to design a test that accurately measures limited skills, test scores continue to be accepted today as a gross measure of intelligence and/or of the test taker's general knowledge and academic competence. LSAT measures aptitude, not achievement – a much-contested intention itself. The resulting test score is said to predict whether an applicant will successfully complete the first year of law school. Yet even this limited claim is contested. One study finds that the test explains only 16% of the variance in grades among students enrolled at ABA accredited law schools (while the LSAT combined with GPA explains 25% of the variance). Even more problematic is the variation in the correlation between LSAT scores and first-year grades from school to school. Further, race and gender continue to be negatively correlated with such test scores.

Despite the test-makers' modest goals and warnings from the LSAC against overreliance on LSAT scores, many deans, faculties and law school admission officers continue to treat the test as a nearly-definitive measure of aptitude and merit. Notwithstanding the claims in glossy law school catalogues that admissions is a "personalized", "holistic" process, 70-80% of all admissions are determined strictly on the numbers. The LSAC has emphasized that modest differences in test scores do not matter.

Even as much as 10 points under the current scoring system is inconsequential in predicting the relative success of students in law school.

Yet, despite these cautionary words and the availability of "banded scores", law schools continue to use the LSAT as a blunt instrument to determine the fate of applicants whose scores may be within 2-3 points of each other and to set absolute lines of demarcation for admission. In addition, over-reliance on the LSAT as a valid predictor of first-year grades ignores a large body of scholarship suggesting that law students of color and non-traditional students confront an unfamiliar and often hostile learning environment which may compromise their ability to do well during the first year despite subsequent success in the second and third years and in the profession.

Although the LSAT was never designed to predict overall performance in law school or professional competence in the practice of law, even employers have been known to ask candidates for their LSAT scores in job interviews with firms in the private sector, government agencies, courts and even in legal education. The LSAT does not measure motivation, perseverance, character, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, oral communication, empathy for clients, commitment to public service or the likelihood that the applicant will work with underserved communities. Law schools, by neglecting these important qualities, do a disservice to the legal profession and its clients, and they limit the legal profession’s ability to provide meaningful access to legal services to all segments of society.

Admission professionals at law schools across our nation are under tremendous pressure to secure the admission of students with high test scores. This pressure is the result of three forces: A) popular magazine "rankings" and their appeal, in our status-driven culture, to all of us in the academic food chain – applicants, enrolled students, faculty members, administrators, alumni/ae, employers and benefactors; B) the cost-saving aspects of a number-based admission process, which reduces much of the need for human intervention; and C) diversity opponents and others who argue that less reliance on test scores and greater attention to other qualifications will compromise America’s traditional "meritocracy."

- "U.S. News & World Report" Rankings
Ostensibly, "U.S. News & World Report" ranks law schools for the benefit of consumers, namely potential law students and their parents. While this ranking has been condemned by the AALS and the ABA for its methodological errors as well as for its incompleteness, rankings are closely followed by faculty members and administrators, as well as by prospective applicants. In this race to improve or at least maintain their rankings, schools fear a fall down the pecking order and hail a rise as proof of significant institutional improvement. Deans regularly refer to improved rankings and high median LSAT scores in fundraising campaigns and in developing alumni/ae relations. U.S. News relies heavily on the mean LSAT of the enrolled law school class, and a difference of 1 point may separate a "first tier" from a "second tier" school. Consequently, many admission officers, under increasing pressure from deans and professors to better market their school in the popular press, pay inordinate attention to LSAT scores. The process has become a numbers game, with admission officers calculating how many students with certain scores have to be admitted before they can begin to admit candidates with lower scores but with greater over-all merit.


Former AALS president Dale Whitman has warned about the incentives for unethical behavior: "The desire for high rankings seems increasingly to induce us to behave in ways that we would not otherwise choose and to distort our educational judgments and priorities." The questionable behaviors he reports include everything from the commonplace distortion of the selection process in order to maintain an LSAT median that preserves or improves a school’s ranking to soliciting the transfer of minority students enrolled in neighboring institutions in their second year when their LSAT scores will not affect the ranking of the school.

The belief that LSAT scores measure the quality of the incoming class and the need to maintain a high median LSAT for ranking purposes has also affected the distribution of financial aid. Schools now "buy" high LSAT scores without regard to need. Given the prohibitive cost of legal education, the enormous debt burden facing so many students, and the limited availability of loan forgiveness programs for students who pursue public interest employment, the practice of using LSAT scores in awarding financial aid is disturbing. The LSAT was not designed to measure the relative worth of law schools. Educational quality can be measured by numerous indicators, including, dare we say, the quality of classroom teaching, as well as the quality and variety of clinical offerings, faculty scholarship, faculty standing in the legal community, the richness and diversity of the student body, the quality of services provided to students, the level of student satisfaction, the success of its graduates, and much more. Unfortunately, the LSAT has been accorded a significance and carries a weight far beyond its original, intended purpose.

Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2004, 03:07:44 AM »
- Cost-Saving
By and large, law schools have progressed from a system where faculty committees set admission standards, reviewed all the files and made the hard decisions; to hiring admission professionals to help faculty with the process; and now, to turning over the task almost exclusively to the admission office. Admission professionals bring valuable training and expertise to the process, yet the sheer volume of their work can be overwhelming, and, most significantly, they are under increasing pressure from deans and faculty members to raise median LSAT scores. Inevitably, over-reliance on the LSAT has become widespread, and individual assessments have become increasingly cursory.

With the "presumptive deny" and "presumptive admit" systems, it has been reported that admission officers at nearly 50% of our nation’s law schools read less than 30% of the files; at 75% of the schools, they read less than 50% of the files; and at only 10% of the schools do they read more than 70% of the files.

Over-reliance on the LSAT offers an inexpensive, simplified way to make admission decisions. The process is streamlined, efficient and predictable, but it fosters a misguided sense of certainty about the performance of admittees and unfairly results in the rejection of deserving students. Nor is it likely to identify and select the most capable future lawyers best suited to serve all segments of society. Not surprisingly, it also serves to perpetuate an overwhelmingly white legal profession. Because faculty members at so many law schools have abdicated their role of thoroughly reviewing applicant files, they remain largely unaware of the dominant role that the LSAT plays at the expense of other criteria. In short, we have turned a human enterprise into a numbers game which compromises other genuine efforts to achieve an excellent and diverse bar. The LSAT has become an enormously popular labor-saving device which, conveniently but undeservingly, has been accorded the career-defining attributes of a crystal ball.

- Today's Anti-Diversity Forces & Racialized Legacy of Standardized Testing
Although the LSAC maintains that its test "is fair to all takers regardless of racial, ethnic, gender, regional, or national background," test results vary significantly along race, gender and class lines. While there are many theories but no definitive explanation for these differences in performance, an understanding of the history of standardized testing may provide some valuable insights.


Indeed, Carl Brigham, who devised the first standardized test for use in college entrance exams and who subsequently headed the Educational Testing Service, had once been a major proponent of immigration restrictions and eugenics. The pioneers of ability testing developed their tests as part of a call for "standards" in the professions, often a euphemism for racial, ethnic and income-status exclusions. The elite law schools began using aptitude tests in the early twentieth century. Contemporary discourse insists on correlating test scores with intelligence and merit. Today, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the LSAC are working hard to eradicate any risk that the LSAT itself operates to unfairly disadvantage minority groups, yet the racialized history of standardized testing fuels current debates about the significance of racial, class and gender differentials in performance. The belief that test scores are a measure of cognitive ability leads inevitably to discussions of racial inferiority/superiority and the privileges that should belong exclusively to those who are superior. Despite attempts by the LSAC to clarify the purpose and the meaning of test scores, public discourse and even some judicial decisions continue to conflate test scores, intelligence and merit. Conservative legal scholars and others opposed to affirmative action all make the same argument: merit is best measured by UGPAand LSAT scores, and, thus, racial and ethnic minorities are, as a group, less meritorious – that is, less qualified – than whites.

Given the prevalence of racially-based attitudes in American society generally and our culture's abiding faith in the ability of science to devise some standard by which human capabilities can be measured, standardized tests have enormous appeal. Tests are potent symbols, especially when the aggregate difference in performance between whites and certain minority groups is invoked by those who wish to "prove" that the quality of higher education has been impaired by the admission of "unqualified" minorities. In this argument, we hear the echo of the past, the notion that Western culture is at risk unless those who do not belong, those who are inferior, are kept at bay. Recently, the Supreme Court, in Grutter v. Bollinger, recognized that law schools can legitimately seek to devise a race-conscious admission process designed to create a challenging and diverse learning environment and, ultimately, to graduate better qualified legal professionals. Over-reliance on the LSAT impedes the attainment of these objectives.

Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2004, 07:29:13 AM »
First, in response to candice, I have read somewhere that there is a correlation of .81 between the LSAT and an unspecified IQ test, which is an overwhelming correlation.  Again, I don't know what the IQ test was, so I take that with a grain of salt.

Many law schools send the LSAT's and GPA's of their first year students, along with their 1st year grades, to LSAC and LSAC comes up with a formula that attempts to predict law school success based on that data.  This turns out to be the admissions index at many schools.  Many schools, especially state schools like UNC and UT, weight the GPA very heavily despite the fact that the LSAT is a better indicator of first year performance in law school and bar exam success than GPA is.  Obviously, the best indicator is a mix of the two (but the LSAT is weighted more than the GPA).  Most law school libraries have quite a few LSAT validity studies, and without having seen them, I know what the gist of the are.  The U.S. News rankings have, IMO, caused many schools to value a marginally better LSAT score (like a 167 over 165) when that score discrepancy doesn't really carry any predictive value. No doubt law schools focus too much on numbes, but a good alternative is hard to find.  But with that said, I don't think anyone doubts that people with a 170 will in general outperform people with a 140.  I think the same is true for people with scores of 160 and those with 150.

There are of course many exceptions to this model.  I too know very smart people who have had trouble with the LSAT.  But the overwelming number of smart people I know did not, and the overwhelming number of stupid people I know did.  As far as racial bias in standardized testing goes:

Whether someone was active in the eugenics field doesn't mean the test he devised was faulty.  In fact, you could make the case that a person who genuinely believe in eugencis would strive to create a color-blind test to the best of his/her ability since he/she would be confident of the outcome.  A lot of people were big on that stuff in the 40's.  Whether someone wished to restrict immigration is even less relevant.  That applies to most of the country today.  Peopel have cried racism for years on SAT questions and the like (how racially biased math questions rear their ugly heads is any one's guess).  One race doing better/worse on a test than another is not even close to proof of racial bias.  If that were the case, there must be something in those questions that favors Asians over whites.  Perhaps one reason why some minorities do worse on some standardized tests is the fact that a disproportionate # of students who attend crappy schools are minorities. 

As far as the Bollinger case, just because the Supreme Court says diversity somehow makes up for lower test scores doesn't make it so.  Michigan's case that diversity increases learning depends largely on Patricia Gurin's psycho-babble study.  Finally, the conservative scholars you mention are the ones who don't care about what a student body looks like so long as it selected on merit- if you could assemble a class that was 90% black based on test scores and GPA, I don't think they'd give a damn.  They certainly wouldn't decry the fact that Western Civ is being destroyed or dumbed-down.  While you may object to their conception of merit or the weight that is assessed to it, at least their's has some statistical value and is not based on school administrators' and academics' political views or feelings of guilt.


  • ****
  • 773
  • Going to NYU in the fall! 3.99/175
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2004, 09:43:24 AM »
I thought that an IQ test was meant to provide a score which does not vary signifigantly over time.  If this is true, then the LSAT is a HORRIBLE IQ test substitute, considering how much of the test is learned, and how much improvment one can experience with practice.

Re: LSAT 163 = IQ 132
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2004, 12:15:48 PM »
Again, I don't know the exxact conditions of the testing that led to the claim I mentioned.  Perhaps it was restricted to first-time LSAT takers only.