Assessing Basic Academic Skills in Higher Education: The Texas Approach

By Richard T. Alpert; William Phillip Gorth et al. | Go to book overview

Bias Concerns in Test Development

The test development process should be designed to create test materials that are fair to groups against whom there historically has been discrimination (e.g., racial and/or ethnic minorities, women, older persons, persons with disabilities). It is important, therefore, to address issues of bias at the beginning stages of test development as well as to provide reviews of test materials to address bias concerns at the end of the development process. All who are involved in test development--including writers, editors, content reviewers, bias reviewers, psychometricians , policy makers, sponsoring agency personnel, program managers, and technical experts--should be guided by an awareness of and sensitivity to bias concerns. These concerns should be a part of the way in which those involved in test development approach their work.

This document has been designed to alert those involved in the test development process to several major areas in which bias in tests may be found. It provides concrete examples of bias and suggests alternatives. In general, it attempts to assist test developers in constructing materials that are free from discriminatory bias by focusing on several major areas in which bias in tests may occur. These include language usage, stereotypes, representational fairness, and content inclusiveness.

This document focuses primarily on bias issues related to minority groups (mainly Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians), women, and people with disabilities. Other forms of bias can occur, such as bias related to age, socioeconomic status, geography, and religion. These are briefly discussed, especially in Chapter V. The

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Bias Concerns in Test Development is distributed in booklet form to agencies, panels, committees, writers, and editors involved in the development of test questions for the Texas Academic Skills Program. This manual draws heavily on the paper "Preventing Bias in Tests: Guidelines for Writing and Reviewing Test Materials," written for National Evaluation Systems, Inc., by Rose Caporrimo and Carol Kehr Tittle of the City University of New York, and on Guidelines for Bias-Free Publishing, produced by the McGraw-Hill Book Company.

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