Assessment in Higher Education: Issues of Access, Quality, Student Development, and Public Policy

By Samuel J. Messick | Go to book overview

15
DIRECTIONS IN THE ASSESSMENT OF LINGUISTIC MINORITIES

Richard P. Durán
University of California, Santa Barbara

My professional association with Warren Willingham began when I undertook a study sponsored by the College Board regarding the population validity of college admissions tests for use with Hispanic populations. This led to a monograph entitled, Hispanics' Education and Background: Predictors of College Achievement ( Durán, 1983). Most significantly, this 1983 monograph included a synthesis of research on Hispanics' schooling achievement and educational attainment and their relation to socioeconomic and sociolinguistic background factors. This direction proved productive, for it was responsive to College Board's careful and timely review of college preparation issues among Latinos. The direction coincided as well with the view of many minority education researchers calling for such a review in the context of interpreting college admissions test scores. The direction was also responsive to Latinos outside ETS who claimed that ETS and the College Board were recalcitrant to undertake such a review that might question the validity of the SAT for Latinos.

The main findings were that one measure of predictive efficiency, namely, the squared validity coefficient between admissions test scores and grades, indicated about 9 percent less predictive accuracy for Latino as opposed to non-Latino students at the same institutions. I did not systematically review evidence of lack of predictive accuracy based on differences in the standard error of measurement for prediction--an alternative method for addressing this issue. However, Maria Pennock-Roman later undertook research of this sort, but using different data, and found no major differences in error of prediction for Latino and non-Latino students in the samples of students she investigated ( Pennock-Roman, 1990).

The College Board study I undertook was a means to a further end. It allowed me to expand the issue of validity of the SAT so as to consider a broader set of

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