In re Obermeyer

In In re Obermeyer, 717 P.2d 382, 385 (Alaska 1986), an examinee who failed to achieve a passing score on the bar examination challenged the "benchmark" grading method used to score the essay portion of that exam. The Supreme Court of Alaska summarized the "benchmark" grading method as follows: To grade the essay portion of the exam, graders first meet to calibrate a particular essay question. At least five graders read and individually score five randomly selected answers on a scale of one to five. They repeat this process several times, with each grader reading at least twenty exams, until the graders agree on a set of answers that are representative of each of the five possible levels. These "benchmark" answers are then used as guides in assigning scores to the remaining papers. Two graders read each essay and score it. If the scores they assigned differ by more than one point, the two graders refer to the benchmarks and resolve their differences. If the scores are within one point, they are simply averaged. (717 P.2d at 385.) In rejecting the bar examinee's challenge to the "benchmark" grading method, the court found that the method was reasonable and within the bar's discretion. (717 P.2d at 387.)