Published on February 6, 2024

2024 NCBE Research Award Recipients Announced

Press Release

MADISON, WISCONSIN, February 6, 2024 —The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has announced the 2024 recipients of two awards that provide funding for research related to testing and measurement, with a particular focus on research related to high-stakes licensure testing such as the bar exam.

NCBE's Joe E. Covington Award for Research on Testing for Licensure honors Joe E. Covington, a former dean of the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law who was the first Director of Testing for NCBE. The award is intended to provide support for graduate students in any discipline doing research germane to testing and measurement, particularly in a high-stakes licensure setting.

The 2024 Covington Award winner is Juyoung Jung of the University of Iowa, whose proposal is titled Investigating Psychometric Properties of Scale Scores on Mixed-Format Tests Using IRT. The project focuses on psychometric properties including the conditional and overall standard error of measurement (SEM), score reliability, and classification consistency and accuracy of tests with mixed formats such as the Uniform Bar Examination, which consists of selected and constructed response format items.

The NCBE Validity and Fairness Research Award was conceived by Hon. Phyllis D. Thompson, a judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals since 2006. Judge Thompson is a former member of the NCBE Board of Trustees and of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. This award is intended to provide support for graduate students and faculty in any discipline whose research identifies aspects of validity evidence including, but not limited to, scoring, response processes, and the impact of licensure and certification testing.

The 2024 Validity and Fairness Research Award winners are Jade Caines Lee, PhD, of the University of Kansas and Brian Sites of the University of Miami. Dr. Lee’s proposal, titled The HBCU Effect: Examining Factors Related to First-Time Bar Passage for HBCU Law School Alumni, focuses on the effects that graduate institution type (HBCU vs. non-HBCU) has on bar passage rates. The findings may better inform and empower HBCUs and their collaborative partners (e.g., law schools, law firms, and other business/professional entities). 

Mr. Sites’ proposal is titled Bar Passage Indicators and Best Practices for International LL.M. & J.D. Students. In addition to a comprehensive literature review pertaining to LL.M. students and bar passage, and the examination of indicators of success for both LL.M. and LL.M./J.D. students, the study will examine the relationship between English language proficiency and bar passage. 

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About the National Conference of Bar Examiners 

The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1931. NCBE promotes fairness, integrity, and best practices in bar admissions for the benefit and protection of the public, in pursuit of its vision of a competent, ethical, and diverse legal profession. Best known for developing bar exam content used by 54 US jurisdictions, NCBE serves admission authorities, courts, the legal education community, and candidates by providing high-quality assessment products, services, and research; character investigations; and informational and educational resources and programs. In 2026, NCBE will launch the next generation of the bar examination, ensuring that the exam continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing profession. For more information, visit the NCBE website at