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To get a fairer assessment of relative ability, i.e. bringing number skills into the equation, and for a larger sample size, I turn to Prof Mark Perry's GRE scores by major for verification:
Just as I would expect based on what I see from the LSAT scores.
If anyone has a newer version of this data, please post it.
The real lesson for looking at LSAT scores is that it demonstrates something that industrial psychology has known for a long time- that it is not necessary to test specific skills with specific tests; a general test of cognition would do. How else can one explain the outstanding performance of STEM in an area that is their "weakness"? Aren't English majors suppose to blow everybody away?
Similarly it's safe to assume the kid from MIT with a lower GPA would on average have a lower LSAT than the MIT mean.
The MIT post graduate survey suggests less than 10 students per class from MIT apply to law school, so 100 is not a realistic sample size.
The part that people have a problem with is being "astonished" that an English major at NYU could have better law school admission success than a B student at MIT. Or assuming that a B student at MIT should be a more capable attorney than an A student at NYU.
But the point is, I wouldn't hire an engineer to handle my legal affairs
I mean, why on earth would you expect law schools to look in any way favorably at hard-STEM coursework or graduates of tech schools?
Because the process by which laws are made, interpreted and applied is analytically very different and I think far more complex than scientific analysis. In law you can't run a formula and come up with a number to solve problems. In science, the rules don't change depending on state borders -- the laws of physics in Alaska operate the same way as the laws of physics in Alabama.
“In math and science, you’re either right or wrong and there’s very little room for subjectivity. Sure, there’s partial credit for getting the concepts right and making calculation error but the student either fundamentally grasps the concept or not. By contrast, the humanities and social sciences are “softer,” with the ability to score points for a half-assed understanding of the material and with the difference between an A, B, and C answers being a matter of nuance, detail, and construction.”
There is an assumption that the hypothetical MIT student with a B average in STEM is way below mean for MIT students applying to law school (in 2011) and the hypothetical NYU student majoring in english with a 3.7-3.8 gpa is way above mean, neither of which I think is warranted.
I point out again that the article was written in 2011. For academic year 2010, 67 applicants applied to law school from MIT, and 79% were admitted. The average GPA for all accepted MIT applicants to law school was 3.25 /4.0, and the average law school admission test score was 162
If the average NYU GPA in 2011 was 3.50 then it is possible that an AVERAGE english major at NYU may have a GPA of 3.7. My hypothetical NYU student is not much above this average.
What does “capable” mean? Lets say academic performance in law school, which is probably correlated with LSAT score (which might be primarily a logic test as one poster has stated).
Quick question. For instance. A quick total shows your list accounts for say 90 percent of the Caucasian students at MIT. Do you have the list for the remaining 10 percent and all the other profiles too . I find it very interesting.
In law, it is NEVER "right or wrong" and there is ALWAY room for subjectivity. In law, understanding "nuance, detail, and construction" is everything. So the people who have been trained in "either right or wrong" are going to have difficulty meeting the expectations of law school class work and exams, trouble with writing the bar exam, and huge difficulty with the practice of law unless something breaks them of that mindset. (As a note, they tend not to make good trial jurors either -- again, in law, binary black-and-white or either-or thinking is a bad thing)
I have a lawyer friend who has clerked for Supreme Court Justice and have also dealt with many lawyers who charge 4-figures-per-hour fees. They're obviously highly intelligent, but they could never become even a mediocre physicist, even if they wanted to. On the other hand, there're physicists that I know who could become some of the best lawyers if they wanted to. Granted, not all physicists are suitable to be lawyers
"Softer" majors get beat up on CC, but not everyone can be a STEM major.
At the same time, everyone can't be a lawyer either.. I don't understand the whose smarter argument on this one.