Tools that assess bias in standardized tests are flawed

August, 2010

Study shows the tools used to assess whether mental ability tests are biased couldn’t find bias when it was deliberately inserted, casting the fairness of common tests into doubt.

Manipulation of nearly 16 million individual samples of scores and more than 8 trillion individual scores on commonly used tests, including civil service and other pre-employment exams and university entrance exams, has revealed that the tools used to check tests of "general mental ability" for bias overwhelmingly and repeatedly missed the bias inserted in the data. In other words, we’ve been testing potential test bias with a biased procedure.


[1668] Aguinis, H., Culpepper S. A., & Pierce C. A.
(2010).  Revival of Test Bias Research in Preemployment Testing.
Journal of Applied Psychology. 95(4), 648 - 680.




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