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Natural selection

Aptitude tests for law school applicants could be the objective filter that gives all would-be lawyers equal access to legal education regardless of background, so why do so few universities have them? Jon Parker asks some of the main stakeholders

18 July 2011

Legal professionals don’t just disagree on the value of aptitude tests – they can’t even agree on what they’re supposed to be for.

The Legal Service Board, which decided to commission a study on the implications of law school entrance aptitude tests, said it did so “to explore whether such tests could help enhance diversity and fair access to the profession by testing the potential of aspiring lawyers on a level playing field where inequalities in prior educational attainment are irrelevant”.

This is a very different purpose for the tests than that of the LNAT Consortium, the seven universities that together operate an aptitude test scheme precisely to identify inequalities among applicants whose educational attainment is otherwise equal: uniform straight ‘A’ exam grades.

LNAT is just one of a number of university bodies that have introduced some form of test to supplement decision making based solely on GCSE and A-level exam results. One reason fo...

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