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Test Bias Essay

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In the helping professions such as psychology, counseling, social work and education, it is imperative that we as professionals understand tests and be able to administer them properly to our clients or students. Tests should be carefully selected, as each has a purpose and as we are aware, there are biases within various tests. A biased test is one in which there are methodical distinctions in the meaning of test scores correlated to different groups. Most tests are well-formulated; however none are absolute. Tests are often administered to make substantial conclusions that will affect the lives of the test-taker. The test-taker is unaware of these biases that are in favor of or in opposition of specific groups of people and the results could have a major effect on the test-taker.

Testing has become a major aspect of the American society. In academic settings, tests scores are used in determining if a student will graduate high school, selecting students for admission to college, placing students into special education, and various other reasons. Within the corporate arena, businesses may use testing to select individuals for job placement. In the United States, testing is inescapable, and test results could have an extensive influence on individuals.

Despite the commonality of testing there is a large discrepancy of results between individuals of certain races, social class, and geographical locations. It was previously suggested that the generous gap in test scores were due to differing educational systems, however researchers now seek other justifications. Is it possible that these tests are erroneous? Did they measure what they were intended to measure? Individuals in the field of education, who agree that individua...


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...ork: Free Press.
Hilliard, A.G., III (1995), ed. Testing African American students: special reissue of the
Negro Educational Review. Chicago: Third World Press.
Jencks, C. and Phillips, M. (1998), eds. The black-white test score gap.
Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Jenson, A.R. (1980). Bias in mental testing. New York: Free Press.
Matarazzo, J. (1972) Wechsler’s measurement and appraisal of adult intelligence.
Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.

Reynolds, C.R. and Brown, Robert T. (1984), eds. Perspectives on bias in mental testing. New York: Plenum Press.

Thorndike, R. (1971). Concepts of cultural-fairness.Journal of Educational
Measurement, 8(2), 63-70. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/pss/1433959
Whiston, S. (2009). Principles and applications of assessment in counseling. (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.


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