Results from the first sitting of a controversial entry test for law students show that, contrary to fears, performance was largely unaffected by social class.
A-level students wanting to study law at Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, East Anglia, Nottingham, Oxford and University College London took the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) to differentiate between the applicants achieving straight As.
The average mark of the 4,345 students who sat the test was 13.16 out of a maximum 24. Students from independent and grammar schools scored 13.63 and 13.55 respectively, while state school students scored 13.3. The highest score was 21, achieved by four students. The lowest was three.
When the test was first mooted, critics warned it would harm students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as richer students would be able to pay for coaching.
LNAT consortium chair Dr Phil Syrpis said it was “reassuring” that the test had not discriminated between candidates.
However, admission tutors bemoaned the poor quality of the essays and urged institutions to “return the construction of argument to the centre of sixth-form learning”.
Syrpis said a forthcoming pilot study would examine whether the LNAT provided a reliable indicator of future law degree success.