Following a settlement last week between a legally blind student and the Law School Admission Council, the Law School Admission Test will no longer include the analytical reasoning section.
Angelo Binno, a student who had intentions of enrolling in law school, initially demanded that LSAC waive the logic games section, citing that near-point visual impairment prevented him from drawing necessary diagrams. When the LSAC refused to grant his request, Binno filed a lawsuit in May 2017 claiming that the council violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In response, LSAC and the plaintiffs agreed to a gradual removal of the logic games. The Yale Law School currently accepts both the Graduate Record Examinations and LSAT scores in the application process.
“I am delighted that I will have an opportunity to demonstrate my aptitude for the study of law and to help support other candidates with visual impairments as they pursue their dream of attending law school,” Binno said in a press release. “The analytical reasoning section meant having to answer questions that are … best approached by drawing pictures and diagrams, something that I cannot do.”
The settlement entails plans for cooperation over the next four years between Binno, his co-plaintiff Shelesha Taylor and LSAC to make the LSAT more accessible. LSAC already allows several accommodations for blind test-takers, including a braille exam form or the use of a reader and scribe.
LSAC representative Kristin Marcell stated that the council will rely on pilot testing and data analysis to develop new ways to test analytical reasoning skills.
“Because analytical reasoning is a critical skill, it is important to recognize that we will continue to assess the analytical reasoning abilities of prospective law students,” read the statement from Marcell. “We are simply redesigning the way in which that skill is assessed.”
In the wake of the settlement, LSAC affirmed their commitment to expand access to law school and to “create a legal profession that truly reflects the breadth and diversity of our society,” according to the press release.
Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest — an educational organization that addresses issues of equity in standardized testing — said the recent ruling is a “tremendous victory” for the disabled community.
“Not only did the LSAC concede that the LSAT needed to be overhauled to create a level playing field, but the agreement effectively recognizes that certain question types — in this case those that can [be] more easily solved by drawing diagrams — can unfairly discriminate against particular groups,” Schaeffer wrote in an email to the News.
Xander Nabavi-Noori LAW ’21, who tutored LSAT test-takers for a year, said that students could consistently get perfect scores in the analytical reasoning section, whereas they might not have been able to in other parts of the exam. As such, he encouraged students to exhaustively practice diagramming. He added that he expects the settlement to have a modest impact on prospective law students’ experiences preparing for the test, depending on how LSAC changes the exam.
“While I think other parts of the exam, like the reading comprehension and logical reasoning and argumentation parts, have a clear link to law school, I never quite understood what the analytical reasoning or logic games section had to do with law school skills,” said Nabavi-Noori.
The LSAT was first administered in 1948.
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