There’s a lot of comments on the proposed bar exam reforms. Some say that a major overhaul of the entire system is needed. Some, on the other hand, say that the bar exams is acceptable as it is, and no reforms are needed. Perhaps the opinion of the Political Law examiner for the 2007 bar exams, Dean Raul Pangalangan, would carry more weight. Here’s a portion of what Dean Pangalangan said in his PDI column:
We must take the same path taken in the United States: multiple-choice questions and machine-corrected exams. This was already proposed by former Supreme Court Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, but it will entail a radical redesign of the process. Multiple-choice questions are best vetted through a panel of examiners and testing professionals — so there goes the solitary examiner and this whole system of cloak-and-dagger secrecy.
In response, it has been argued that essay questions are needed to judge the candidate’s facility with language and ability to analyze and to explain. Then, I argue, let’s retain a 20 percent essay portion for the exam, but mainly to test expressive abilities. In other words, let’s not overburden the whole process when all we want to target is a specific ability.
During my student days in U.P., our remedial law professor, now Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, gave us one exam consisting entirely of multiple-choice questions. We thought that a multiple-choice exam would be easy. We were wrong, dead wrong, and it was an experience that made many of us wish for more easy-type questions.
In closing, allow me to congratulate the new Dean of my alma mater, Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen.