The California Supreme Court decided Wednesday not to lower the passing score on the state’s licensing examination for lawyers.
The state’s bar exam has long been one of the toughest to pass in the nation. Last year, California had the lowest rate of passage of any state, and its average score has dropped by about a third in recent years.
Several law school deans called on California to reduce the score needed for passage, and the state Supreme Court asked the State Bar of California to study the issue.
The score required for passage in California, known as the cut score, is higher than in any state except Delaware, and the number has remained unchanged for three decades.
In a letter Wednesday, the court said it was “not persuaded that the relevant information and data developed at this time weigh in favor of departing from the longstanding pass score of 1440.”
The court noted that the pass rate has fluctuated over time, and that other states also have seen a decline in the passage of the exams.
“The court expects the state bar to complete its other bar exam studies and to continue analyzing whether the exam or any of its components might warrant modification,” the court said.
California’s pass rate hit a record low 62% in July 2016 for graduates of law schools accredited by the American Bar Assn. New York’s pass rate for its accredited schools last year was 83%.