University of Toledo’s College of Law tied the University of Dayton for the lowest overall passing rate in Ohio on the July 2017 bar examination, at 58 percent, according to the Ohio Supreme Court’s website.
The overall passing rate has not been this low in more than a decade, according to the Toledo Blade.
The passing rate for first-time test takers this year was 74 percent, compared to last July’s rate of 63 percent, according to the website’s exam results.
Dean of the College of Law, Benjamin Barros, said that national college rankings place more importance on first-time test taker scores and less on the overall passage rate.
UT’s big jump in first-time passing this year shows that the school is already starting to do better and the overall score is likely to soon rise because there will be less repeat test takers, he said.
The database shows that 60 out of Case Western Reserve University’s 69 bar exam test takers passed, ranking the university with the best overall and first-time passage rates in Ohio, with 87 percent and 93 percent respectively.
Ohio State University also had an 87 percent overall passage rate compared to UT’s 30 out of 52 students passing the exam.
Barros said he has plans in place that he is confident will significantly improve test scores in the near future.
“We have two goals. One goal is that we would like to be consistently in the top half of the state,” Barros said. “I would also like our first-time test pass rate to be consistently above 80 percent.”
There are new resources and policies being set in place at the College of Law to achieve these goals, Barros said.
Another change UT is making is the creation of a summer mentoring program with faculty for recently graduated students to help them complete bar examination prep courses.
Barros attributed the first-time taker’s better passage rates with higher completion of summer bar exam preparation.
“The truth is that there’s no one solution to this, so we are trying to do all sorts of things. The summer mentoring was one,” Barros said. “We added a new course for students in their third year that is a bar preparation focused class and we have been adding new academic support programing for students while in law school.”
Barros said the law school faculty have better credentials than ever, which improves student success. He is confident that scores will be within the school’s 80 percent passing goal within three to four years and in the top half of Ohio’s law schools.