What evidence is there of cultural bias in assessments, especially in regards to standardized tests such as ACT and SAT?  What evidence is there of cultural bias in assessments, especially in...

What evidence is there of cultural bias in assessments, especially in regards to standardized tests such as ACT and SAT?  

What evidence is there of cultural bias in assessments, especially in regards to standardized tests such as ACT and SAT?

 

 

Asked on by mdasta

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

We can answer this question on several levels. First, tests are created from a certain social/economic point of view and therefore people who are from that social/economic world will fare better. For example, if there is an analogy such as: cup is to saucer as coaster is to mug, it presupposes that all people use saucers and coasters, but this is not true. Many people do not use saucers and coaster at all. Usually wealthier people use these. Second, there are also cultural issues. What is commonsense in one culture is not commonsense in another. Here is a simple example. All the reading passages very western, at least in form. This fact will help people who are western in outlook. Finally, there is the issue of certain schools that prepare students to take these standardized tests. Usually it is the wealthier schools that have the ability and resources to do this. This last point is very much cultural, because these schools usually do not exists is poorer places like inner cities.

The first link below is from CNN. The second and third link is about how culture can be biased.

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

We can answer this question on several levels. First, tests are created from a certain social/economic point of view and therefore people who are from that social/economic world will fare better. For example, if there is an analogy such as: cup is to saucer as coaster is to mug, it presupposes that all people use saucers and coasters, but this is not true. Many people do not use saucers and coaster at all. Usually wealthier people use these. Second, there are also cultural issues. What is commonsense in one culture is not commonsense in another. Here is a simple example. All the reading passages very western, at least in form. This fact will help people who are western in outlook. Finally, there is the issue of certain schools that prepare students to take these standardized tests. Usually it is the wealthier schools that have the ability and resources to do this. This last point is very much cultural, because these schools usually do not exists is poorer places like inner cities.

The link below is from CNN.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is a very controversial question, as many people (including officials of the College Board) do not believe that there is evidence of such a bias.  Those who claim that there is a bias say that the fact that black students get lower scores is due to bias rather than to the fact that black students, on average, attend schools that are lower in quality.

As can be seen in the article in the link below, some scholars claim that there are certain questions on the SAT that seem to be biased against black students.  They say that black and white students of seemingly equal ability miss these questions with much different frequencies.  If two groups of students are essentially similar, they should both get similar scores on given questions.  However, on these questions, black students consistently do worse than similar white students do.  Scholars claim that this is due to bias in the questions.  They argue that these particular questions are ones that are easily answered by white students because of their cultural background while equally able black students have a harder time with those questions because of their cultural background.

Please follow the link for a more thorough discussion of this question.

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