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Bias (Testing)

  • By: Gary L. Canivez
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Bias in testing is a concern of psychologists, sociologists, and the general public; but the word bias has numerous meanings. Much of the controversy regarding bias in testing is reflected in what might be considered racial or ethnic bias. For the general public and sometimes with other groups, simple group differences in test performance are often interpreted as evidence of bias in the test (e.g., white versus African American intelligence quotient [IQ] scores). This assertion makes an assumption that there can be no group differences in test performance, lest the test be biased against the lower-performing group. This position may be the result of confusing two issues that should be kept separate: test bias and etiology of group differences (Reynolds & colleagues, 1999). Most often, ...

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