No More Games, Logic Games
Many people who took the LSAT would say that their least favorite part was the section of “Logic Games,” which assessed examinees’ analytical reasoning skills. At least that is what the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), better known as the folks who administer the LSAT, would say is the purpose of these enjoyable word problems from beyond the darkest realms of Mordor.
How much better would my score have been on the LSAT if the “logic games section” wasn’t on the exam? I’ll never find out, but in just a few years, prospective law students will.
In the next four years, the LSAT will undergo a transition. LSAC has initiated research and development into alternative testing mechanisms for assessing analytical reasoning skills. This R & D is a component of an overall, comprehensive review of all exam question formats to determine how the fundamental skills for success in law school can be reliably assessed through test-taking formats that offer improved accessibility for all examinees.
This big, bold move, after almost half a century, to revamp the LSAT by the LSAC is the result of a lawsuit filed by Angelo Binno, an aspiring law student, who happens to be legally blind. When Mr. Binno took the LSAT, his impairment prevented him from visually organizing his answers with pen and paper, as is typically necessary to complete the logic games section of the test. Because he could not draw or diagram his work, he could not quickly formulate any responses and missed most of the points available for each logic games’ question.
Most tests in high school and college are knowledge-based and require students to learn a body of specific information. In contrast to these examinations, the LSAT is primarily a skills-based test. Examinees are not required to memorize facts or apply any learned formulas. Instead, in the case of logic games, test-takers must demonstrate the ability to think critically, analytically, and quickly.
However, in testing these skills, successfully passing the logic games portion of the LSAT typically requires the extensive organization of the information contained in each question. As these are long, detailed, and complicated questions, organizing this information naturally requires its visualization. Even someone of extraordinary intelligence would likely require some visual organization and presentation of the information to answer the question.
“They handed me a pencil and paper, and I said it’s useless to me because I can’t see to draw,” Binno said in an interview. Initially, Binno requested a waiver of the requirement to complete the logic games section of the LSAT, which LSAC, not unexpectedly, denied, although it did approve several accommodations for him when he took the test.
As a result, Binno and his co-plaintiff, Shelesha Taylor, who is also legally blind, sued the American Bar Association (ABA) and LSAC. After eight long years of litigation and settlement negotiations, the parties finally reached a resolution of the case.
Pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement, LSAC will conduct and complete research and development within the next four years to change the exam’s format. The purpose of this extensive study and change is to revise the exam so that it will enable all prospective law school students, including those that may be visually impaired, to take an exam that continues to assess analytical reasoning abilities. Four years from now, this analytical reasoning assessment will not be through the logic games format.
Binno and Taylor work will work with LSAC and the Wayne State University Law School’s Disability Law Clinic to try and improve the LSAT for all examinees.
“The times they are a changing.” As we approach 2020, not only are law schools and legal education practically evolving to meet the needs of all types of students, but also the ways students are evaluated, tested and considered for law school are also changing. CDTA is also changing how law schools educate and prepare students to be lawyers and advocates. We’ve designed our state-of-the-art technology platform to evolve with the needs of our students and faculty.
The California Desert Trial Academy was founded with a progressive vision of legal education. This vision includes the maximum utilization of technology to help students achieve their professional goals. At CDTA, we offer online legal resources that provide convenience, repetition, and hands-on training 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.