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The California State Bar will use computer records and scoring data to adjust test-takers’ scores if they were affected by flooding and software problems during the February bar exam. If all goes well, test-takers should have their final scores on time, by May 21, said Jerome Braun, the Bar’s senior executive for admissions. “My guess is everybody is unhappy that flooding occurred and everyone would rather have their own score,” Braun said. “But the flooding did occur. This is the fairest and most equitable way [to score the tests].” The Committee of Bar Examiners met Friday to discuss the matter and issue recommendations. Flooding at a Pasadena test site forced the Bar to cancel a portion of the test for about 700 people. And the software glitch had a potentially wider-ranging impact. It caused laptops — 1,594 of 4,730 examinees chose to take the test that way — to freeze up while saving, giving people less time for exam questions. Some test-takers had to deal with both snafus. The Bar will use various methods to mitigate possible damage to scores. For the software glitches, the Bar first will determine if scores were affected. For now, Braun said, the Bar assumes the glitch caused people to lose time. Then, by examining computer records, the Bar will be able to determine how much time each person lost, Braun said. Because the time varied from person to person, the Bar will use information gleaned from the records to adjust each person’s score accordingly — adding points based on the amount of time missed. For Pasadena test-takers affected by flooding, the Bar will use the rest of each examinee’s test to impute, or predict, the missing portion of the test, Braun said. That process is similar to what the Bar did in 1989, when an earthquake disrupted a test, and in 1992, when some test-takers stopped their exams in order to help someone having a seizure, Braun said. Lisa Duncanson, who owns Bar None Review in Fullerton, Calif., said she was worried that the Bar would use computer data. “If they’re using something that created the problem in the first place to determine how much time was lost — that concerns me,” she said. A handful of Duncanson’s 30 students for the February exam were affected by the problems. She said she hopes the Bar’s plan works out, but said it wasn’t just about lost time. “There was a lot of emotional impact that just can’t be calibrated,” she said. The Bar received letters and e-mails from test-takers concerned about what happened. Braun said those were taken into account and shared with the Rand Corp. psychometrician — an expert on testing — hired by the Bar to help adjust test scores.

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