Law admissions test cuts through school and gender bias

February 4, 2005

The first results from the national admissions test for law show that it does not discriminate against state-school pupils and that men and women do equally well.

The Lnat was introduced by eight universities last November to help them choose between large numbers of well-qualified candidates. It will probably be extended to other law schools.

Phil Syrpis, chair of the Lnat consortium and tutor for undergraduate admissions at Bristol University, said: "The test did discriminate between otherwise well-qualified candidates, but it did not discriminate inappropriately on the basis of school or gender."

But he said that it was too soon to say whether the test would provide an indicator of degree success.

"There has been a pilot study, involving current Birmingham and Bristol students, which will produce some results in the summer," he said.

The first reliable results will be available only when students who took the test complete their degrees in 2008.

The test also highlighted poor essay-writing skills among candidates. "Many candidates were unable to construct reasoned arguments," a statement from the consortium says.

"Admissions tutors urge prospective law students and their schools and colleges to return the construction of argument to the centre of sixth-form learning."

In all, 4,345 students sat the test last November. The consortium includes Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, East Anglia, Nottingham and Oxford universities and University College London.

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