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Long-Term Predictive and Construct Validity of Two Traditional Predictors of Law School Performance

Powers, Donald E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Law School Admission Council (LSAC), Admission Criteria, Grade Prediction, Law Schools, Test Validity, Validity Studies


The relative contribution of two traditional, widely used preadmission measures, undergraduate grade point average (UGPA) and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), to predicting academic performance in each of the three years of law school was investigated in a heterogeneous sample of 23 law schools. The contribution of each measure was uneven across years, with the LSAT making its greatest contribution in early years and UGPA in later years. Differences between law school years with respect to the nature of instructional techniques and curricular emphases were considered in order to gain a better understanding of the construct validity of each measure as a predictor of performance in law school. The results were consistent with the test sponsor's interpretation of the LSAT as a measure of the ability to confront new situations and new problems such as those encountered in the first year of law school. They were also consistent with an interpretation of UGPA as a measure not only of academic competence but also of other qualities (such as persistence and motivation) that are needed over the long haul for the study of law. (Issued by ETS as a journal reprint.) (9pp.)

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