Alameda County
Bar Association

A Message From the State Bar – Cut Scores 

The California State bar invites you to take a survey about cut scores for the California Bar Exam. Please see the letter from the State Bar Executive Director below.

Dear California Attorneys:

As you are probably aware, the bar exam pass rates in California have experienced a continuing trend of decline in recent years. In response to this decline, the State Bar initiated a series of studies to evaluate the bar exam, including its pass line (also known as cut score) and content of the exam. The Standard-Setting Study, which evaluates the exam cut score, was recently completed. Based on the study’s findings, two options were presented to the Committee of Bar Examiners for consideration and subsequently issued for comment: 1) keep the current cut score of 1440; 2) reduce it to 1414 as an interim cut score, pending the conclusion of the other studies being conducted. 

If a cut score of 1414 were applied to the July 2016 bar exam, the pass rate would have increased from 43 to 47 percent. If the option of reducing the cut score to 1414 were adopted, it could also be applied to the July 2017 bar exam.  The study findings and recommendations have been published to solicit public comment until August 25. After receiving the public comments, the Committee of Bar Examiners will make recommendation to the Board of Trustees in early September. The Board of Trustees will make its recommendation to the Supreme Court, which will then make the final decision.

In addition to the public comment period that is currently underway, we are seeking additional feedback through this survey; the information from your response will inform the Supreme Court’s deliberation. In addition to your views about the cut score and other policy considerations, we are also seeking demographic and other background information to provide appropriate context for your responses.

Please take a few minutes of your time to complete the survey at the link below. The survey will be open until Friday, August 18. Individual survey responses will be anonymous and confidential.

If you are also interested in submitting public comment, you can do so at:

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback!

With thanks and best regards,

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker

Executive Director