Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bar Glitch in New York

Apparently there was a glitch during the July New York bar exam--what a nightmare for the candidates! The story follows.

"Son of a Glitch!: Hundreds of NY Bar Exam Takers May Have Had Essay Answers Fouled Up by Software

New York Lawyer
August 30, 2007
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By Joel Stashenko
New York Law Journal

The state Board of Law Examiners and Software Secure Inc., the company the board hired to provide software to take the bar exam, appear to have incomplete essays from about 400 people who sat for July's exam.

The company and the board are both notifying the test takers this week via e-mail that they should e-mail backup data to Software Secure, board Executive Director John J. McAlary said yesterday. Six essay questions were part of the New York phase of the two-day exam.

Mr. McAlary said in an interview that one or more of the essays might be missing for the 400 exam takers. In some cases, it is not clear whether the answers Software Secure has are complete, he said.

"They may have an essay that appears incomplete, and that may be because someone just ran out of time on that part of the exam," he said.

Backup data saved through the software will provide a minute-by-minute accounting of students' work on the timed exam and a clearer picture if essays are complete, according to Mr. McAlary. The backup data would also provide answers that may have appeared to have been overwritten on the software, he said.

Test takers began complaining of problems with the Cambridge, Mass.-based Software Secure program starting on July 24, the first day of the exam. Software Secure later determined that the software malfunctioned on some laptops when students toggled between answer tabs on their screens. The Board of Law Examiners said backups in the software should have saved all the work students did on their laptop, but they will not know for sure until all students' answers are printed out and studied by the board.

It is too early to tell if the software problems will cause a delay in grading the July test, which is scheduled to be completed in mid-November, the board said.

Just under 5,000 - or about half of - July's test takers used a laptop."

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

What a nightmare, Marie! Those poor exam takers.