Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Construct Validity of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test for Black and White Second Grade Students

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Construct Validity of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test for Black and White Second Grade Students

Article excerpt

The construct validity of the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT) was examined with a sample of 367 white and 52 black second grade students from a rural Florida school district. Average item performance for both samples was similar, with average pass rates of 43% and 52% for the black and white samples, respectively. The rank order difficulty of the items was also similar, with Spearman's rho (r) = .93 (p < .000001). Mean point-biserial correlations were .35 and .39 for the black and white samples, respectively, further supporting the construct validity of the test for both groups. Some differential item functioning was indicated, with nonsignificant point-biserial correlations for the black sample on 12 of 38 items. Point-biserial correlations were significantly different (p < .05) between samples for 2 items. Point-biserial correlations for each item were also correlated with the standardized difference in the proportions of blacks and whites passing each item, a measure of the degree to which the black-white difference was related to each item's gloading. A Pearson (r) correlation of .28 (p < .05) was obtained. The convergent validity of the NNAT with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) was also examined with a subsample of 22 students, yielding a correlation (r) of .74 (p < .0001). For the total sample, although mean IQ scores for blacks (86.7) and whites (96.4) were significantly different (p < .01), the differences cannot be attributed in any significant degree to test bias, with the test measuring the same construct for both groups. However, this test may not be a robust measure of the g-factor, at least for the age level of this sample.

Key Words: NNAT; Naglieri; Blacks; Whites; Construct Validity; Convergent Validity.

Perhaps no subject has engendered as much acrimonious debate within the social sciences, than the subject of racial differences in cognitive ability. Indeed, due to the larger societal implications of such differences, the debate has never been confined to the scientific community. Although the mass media has promulgated the notion that the persistent group differences in cognitive ability are the result of culturally biased tests (Snyderman & Rothman, 1988), this view is no longer tenable and is no longer seriously debated among experts, having been refuted decades ago (Camilli & Shepard, 1994; Jensen, 1980; Reynolds, 1982, 1995, 1998; Reynolds & Brown, 1984; Reynolds, Lowe, & Saenz, 1999). Indeed, the American Psychological Association's report: Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns (Neisser, et. al., 1996) although downplaying the role of genetics as contributory to the black-white IQ difference, states that the difference "...does not result from any obvious biases in test construction and administration, nor does it simply reflect differences in socioeconomic status."

Attempts to equalize group outcomes, whether in employment or school settings, have been largely unsuccessful. The legal term "disparate impact", refers to the disproportionate failure rates of blacks and Hispanics in employment testing and the concomitant assumption that such disproportionate outcomes are indicative of test bias. This assumption (i.e., that mean score differences between groups are evidence of bias), has been characterized by Jensen (1980) as the "egalitarian fallacy" and is no longer an accepted definition of test bias among psychometricians (Reynolds, 2000). Legal definitions of test bias are therefore inconsistent with the consensus of experts on these matters. As a result of the legal definition of test bias industrial/organizational psychologists have been tasked with the responsibility of devising standardized employment tests that significantly reduce or eliminate group disparities.

Such efforts have been unsuccessful with tests measuring general mental ability. However, some success has been obtained by devising tests denuded of their cognitive component and placing greater weight on personality factors, although the resulting tests have little or none predictive validity for job success (Gottfredson, 1996). …

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