Last year, during the North Carolina bar exam, there was a power outage. This outage stressed and inconvenienced students. North Carolina makes some students take the bar in a barn, so it was entirely foreseeable that the power would go out.
But I think the point is that power outages are pretty foreseeable everywhere. Bar exam proctors should know exactly what to do when the power goes out. There shouldn’t be confusion. People shouldn’t be running around acting like it’s 10,000 B.C. during an eclipse.
Then again, I’m going to give a slight pass to the people who administer the bar exam in Hawaii. When the power goes out, I’m sure that proctors expect would-be Hawaiian lawyers to act more like Hawaiians and less like uptight, stressed out lawyers everywhere else…
A tipster relates a breathless report about exam mishaps during the Hawaii bar:
Heard that today there was a power outage during the Hawaii Bar Exam, during which time many students could see thanks to outside light from windows and many others were left completely in the dark. During the power outage, students were chatting with each other, sharing answers, others were continuing to take the exam, and the proctors stood by without any urgency. Completely unfair and poorly handled. Not sure how this will affect MBE scores, passage rates, or how this is at all fair. Why were the exam booklets not taken immediately? Why were announcements not made immediately? Power outages are foreseeable, no? I’d be interested to hear what officials have to say…couldn’t this have bigger implications for the mainland as well, being that it was the MBE?
Okay, slow your roll there, nobody on the mainland is going to be affected because Hawaii messed up its MBE curve. (Is there a more appropriate Hawaii colloquialism for “slow your roll”?)
Still, I imagine that the bar exam in Hawaii is more prepared to deal with volcanic emergencies than mere power outages. Or at least I hope they are. Those fire mountains are scary.
The point, if there is one, is that state boards of law examiners should have clear procedures in place for foreseeable emergencies. It’s not hard. IF SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS, EVERYTHING STOPS. That’s the rule. Testing stops. Talking never starts. Tests are collected and they wait for the emergency to pass. That shouldn’t be all that difficult to implement.
Of course, that would require the people administering the bar exam to take the thing half as seriously as the people who are desperate to pass it. Unfortunately, all too often, we know that is not the case.