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Chapter 6

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Chapter 6Topic 6BTest Bias and Other Controversies The Question of Test BiasTest bias is an objective empirical question not a matter of personal judgment Test bias is a technical concept of amenable to impartial analysis In contrast test fairness reflects social values and philosophies of test use particularly when test use extends to selection for privilege or employment The Test Bias ControversyThe test bias controversy has its origins in the observed differences in average IQ among various racial and ethnic groups African Americans on standardized IQ tests The proof of test bias however must rest on other criteria listed below Criteria of Test Bias and Test FairnessTest bias refers to objective statistical indices that examine the patterning of test scores for relevant subpopulations In general a test is considered biased if it is differentially valid in different subpopulations In contrast to the narrow concept of test bias test fairness is a broad concept that recognizes the importance of social values in test usage Ultimately test fairness is based on social conceptions such as ones image of a just societyThe Technical Meaning of Test Bias A Definition Bias is present when a test score has meanings or implications for a relevant definable subgroup of test takers that are different from meanings or implications for the remainder of test takersBias in Content Validity Bias in content validity is probably the most common criticism of those who denounce the use of standardized tests with minorities Content bias an item or subscale of a test is considered to be biased in content when it is demonstrated to be relatively more difficult for members of one group than another when the general ability level are held constant Attempts to prove that expertnominated items are culturally biased have not yielded the conclusive evidence that critics expect Expert judges cannot identify culturally biased test items In general with respect to well known standardized tests of ability and aptitude research has not supported the popular belief that the specific content of test items is a source of cultural bias against minoritiesBias in Predictive or Criterion Related Validity In general an unbiased test will predict future performance equally well for persons from different subpopulations Criterion related or predictive validity bias A test is considered biased with respect to predictive validity if the inference drawn from the test score is not made with the smallest feasible random error or if there is constant error in an inference or prediction as a function of
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