Bar exam posts single-largest drop in scores in history

The Mulitstate Bar Exam, a series of multiple choice questions administered over several jurisdictions, has existed since 1972. The NCBE has statistics disclosing the history of scaled MBE scores since 1976.

After tracking the decline in bar scores across jurisdictions this year, I noted that the MBE had reached a 10-year low in scores. It turns out that's only part of the story.

The 2.8-point drop in scores is the single largest drop in the history of the MBE.

The largest other drop was in 1984, which saw a 2.3-point drop over the July 1983 test. The biggest increase was 1994, which saw a 2.4-point increase over the July 1993 test. And the only other fluctuation exceeding two points was the 1989 2.2-point increase over the July 1988 test.

What might be behind this change? I've speculated about a few things earlier; I'll address some theories in later posts this week.