The Jurisdiction Advisory Committee (JAC)Business People with Gears and Teamwork Concepthad its kickoff meeting on February 16, 2022. The JAC was created to ensure that jurisdiction perspectives would be heard regularly as we develop and implement the next generation of the bar exam. JAC members provide their reactions and opinions to help inform the policy decisions necessary to successfully launch the new exam. JAC members will also be asked to help us gather input about specific topics from all jurisdictions and/or from law schools and law students.

In their inaugural meeting, JAC members were invited to share which aspects of the transition to the new bar exam they are most excited about and which they are most concerned about. The things that most excite them include

  • the aim of bringing more uniformity to the bar exam and grading processes;
  • the transparent and research-backed process that has been used to redesign the bar exam;
  • the possibility of reducing testing time from the current 12 hours, assuming the necessary reliability and validity of scores can be achieved in a shorter exam; and
  • the benefits of administering the exam at computer testing centers, including
    • a standardized testing environment, equipment, and administration process;
    • a positive testing experience for examinees because of that standardization; and
    • the elimination of challenges and drawbacks associated with the current model, such as securing appropriate testing sites and proctors, and shipping and maintaining the security of paper testing materials.

They expressed reservations about using computer testing centers—a topic about which there is both excitement and concern—as well as about centralized grading, the time needed to amend their rules or seek statutory changes, the cost of the new exam, and options for non-UBE jurisdictions once the MBE is no longer offered. At future meetings of the JAC, NCBE will facilitate in-depth conversations around each specific area of concern; we have already begun planning for the next meeting.

We know that JAC members, and all our stakeholders, are eager to learn more about the content that will be tested on the new exam and to see prototypes of the new integrated items. We are pleased to announce that the draft content outlines for each of the eight Foundational Concepts & Principles and the seven Foundational Skills will be published for public comment on the next gen website in mid-March. The draft content outlines are based on recommendations from the Content Scope Committee. Pilot testing of new item types is slated to start this summer, with the goal of publishing sample questions later this year.

Onward and upward!