Grading Procedures

The Board utilizes an extensive process for the development, review, and grading of the essay and Performance Test (PT) questions on the bar examination to ensure that the questions are fair; that the analysis is accurate, complete, and includes all reasonable arguments that could be raised in response to the question; and that grading is conducted in a manner that ensures consistency based on final grading guidelines that are reasonable. As part of this process, at the conclusion of each bar examination, a copy of the actual bar examination essay questions, examiners' proposed analyses and tentative grading guidelines are sent to representatives for each of the nine area law schools. The representatives circulate the questions, analyses and tentative grading guidelines to the professors who teach the respective subject material covered by the six essay questions and the PT and solicit substantive comments and suggestions. The comments and suggestions are shared with the Board, examiners and readers prior to the grading calibration session conducted at the semiannual meetings following the February and July bar examinations. The feedback from the law school professors is considered in finalizing the analyses and grading guidelines for the questions to ensure that the applicants' essay answers are graded in a fair and reasonable manner.

The PT and six essay answers are graded by the examiners and readers subsequent to semiannual meetings held following the February and July bar examinations. There are three graders for the PT and each essay question, each of whom grades one-third of the answers for that specific question. Once all grades have been submitted, the total essay score is scaled to the MBE and the weighted scaled essay score is combined with the scaled MBE score to determine the combined scaled score. All applicants receiving a combined scaled score of 263-271 will be included in a re-read process and have their PT and six essay answers re-read and re-graded by a different grader. The re-read graders are not aware of the scores originally given. As part of this process a final essay score is determined, scaled to the MBE and combined with the scaled MBE score to determine a final score. Pursuant to Pa. B.A.R. 221, once results are released the scores are final and are not subject to judicial review.