Regulator tweaks SQE1 marking method

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By Legal Cheek on


Introduces ‘scaled scoring’ similar to New York Bar

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has tweaked the approach to marking assessments on part one of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

In an updated published last week, the regulator confirmed it will be introducing a system of “scaled scoring” similar to that already used in a range of professional assessments across medicine and accountancy as well as the New York State Bar.

The SRA also announced it will be increasing the number of SQE1 testing dates within each assessment window, and that the change in approach to marking came in response to this increase.

“So that we can offer more choice to candidates about when they sit the assessment, but maintain the integrity of the assessment, there will be different papers in an assessment window,” the SRA said. “We will therefore be introducing a system of scaled scoring to enable us to still achieve accurate and fair comparisons between test takers.”

The SQE was formally introduced in September 2021 as the new route to solicitor qualification. SQE1 tests ‘Functioning Legal Knowledge’ (FLK) in two multiple-choice tests of 180 questions each, whilst SQE2 focuses on legal skills.

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The regulator went on to explain how scaled scoring will work.

“The number of questions a candidate answers correctly out of the 180 questions on each FLK is called the ‘raw’ score. If two individuals with the same ability take different papers their raw scores might differ due to the varying difficulty of the papers. Converting the raw score to a scaled score allows scores to be directly compared to reflect the candidates’ relative performance, despite any differences between the assessments. Candidates will be given their raw score. They will also be given their mark expressed as a scaled score figure out of 500. The pass mark will always be 300.”

Dr Ioannis Glinavos, a senior lecturer at Westminster Law School, has also provided a helpful video explanation as to what the changes mean. You can view it here.

Last week Legal Cheek reported that of the 3,475 candidates who attempted SQE1 in July (the latest sitting), 53% successfully passed. This marked a slight improvement on the 51% success rate achieved by those who sat SQE1 in January.

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