Colorado Supreme Court

Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel

Promoting Professionalism. Protecting the Public.

Holistic Grading

The Colorado Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners employs a holistic grading method to score Multistate Essay and Performance Exams.

Holistic grading assigns a score to an answer based on a global impression of the answer’s quality. Although grading guidelines outline specific elements that should be included in an answer to the question, the grade assigned to the paper goes beyond a simple tally of the elements covered and assigns a global score that includes the overall quality of the answer. All answers are scored using the same score scale such as 1-6. The National Conference of Bar Examiners uses a 1-6 to train graders. Colorado uses this scale as well. The 1-6 scale is a relative scale, which means a “6” is better than a “5,” which is better than a “4,” etc.

Prior to implementing holistic grading in February 2013, exam answers were scored in three phases: First Scoring, Regrade and Reconciliation. With the implementation of holistic grading, the Regrade and Reconciliation phases were eliminated. This decision was not made for purposes of convenience or expediency. Rather, it was intended to improve the uniformity, reliability, and integrity of the scoring process by having all answers graded at one time when the graders are focused and calibrated.

As a Uniform Bar Exam jurisdiction, all examination results are final and not open to regrading or appeal.

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