Factors associated with bar examination performance in Puerto Rico

Manuel Clavell-Spitche, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to determine factors associated with performance in Puerto Rico's bar examination. The study investigated the relationship between: (a) undergraduate grade point average, (b) law school admission test scores, (c) law school grade point average, (d) attendance at day or night law school session, (e) participation in bar examination review courses, and total scores in a Puerto Rico bar examination. The Applicants' Information Sheet, the Law School Grade Point Average Report, and the Bar Examination Review Course Questionnaire were developed as instruments to obtain the relevant data for the study. There was an initial population of 548; of this number, 50 were selected for the pilot study. Of the remaining 498, 250 were surveyed. Returns on this survey were 172, which number constituted the sample for the study. Chi squares were computed to determine the statistical independence of the above variables with performance in bar examinations. Also, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and partial correlation coefficient analyses were computed to examine five null hypotheses stated in the study. To determine the strength of the association, Garrett's (1960) classification was used. Analysis of the data led to the following conclusions: (a) Candidates' undergraduate grade point average was not significantly associated with performance; (b) The law school admission test showed negligible or indifferent relationship to performance,and it was concluded that it was not significantly related to successful performance in the bar examination; (c) Law school grade point average indicated marked and significant relationship to bar examination performance; (d) Law school session showed negligible relation with bar examination performance, so it was not significantly related to passed or failed performance; and (e) Bar examination review courses showed an almost non-existent relation to bar examination performance; so it was concluded that this factor was not significantly related to successful performance in bar examinations. Although demographic (sex, marital status, age) and academic characteristics (law school attended, type of law student, participation in Moot Court course or Legal Assistance Clinic course, previous bar examinations taken and previous review courses) were not included in the objectives of this study, relevant data pertaining to the factors above mentioned recommended more empirical research in the field of bar examination performance.

Subject Area

Law|Educational evaluation|Higher education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Clavell-Spitche, Manuel, "Factors associated with bar examination performance in Puerto Rico" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007174.