Austin lawyer Gary Bledsoe faced plenty of challenges when he became acting dean of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston last year. But now he is confronting one he hadn’t anticipated—created by the school’s dismal pass rate for graduates who took the July 2018 Texas Bar Examination.

Only 44.52 percent of Thurgood Marshall students who took that exam for the first time passed it—a rate that was by far the lowest among Texas’ 10 law schools and much lower than the pass rate that comparable groups of Thurgood Marshall students obtained in recent years.