Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Education, Discrimination, Stereotypes, Bias, Racism, Linguistics, Culture, Testing

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Published: 2021/02/03

Testing Bias

The introduction of bias in tests causes measurement error leading to variation in test scores that are not due to knowledge of the content tested. Consequently, tests with flaws fail to represent in an accurate manner the competencies and qualities tests are supposed to measure. Flawed tests are thus not reliable measures of an examinee’s knowledge (McMillan, 2008). This paper will examine sources of test bias and ways through which such biases can be minimized.
A number of factors can introduce bias in tests (Pressley & McCormick, 2007). The first potential bias that can be introduced in tests is content bias. This bias arises when the content or items in a test tap concepts or experiences that are more familiar to certain groups than to others (Groth-Marnat, 2009). For instance, the vocabulary testing a concept may be more familiar to some people taking a test. The lack of familiarity to certain items in a test may be due to socioeconomic or cultural differences amongst the test-takers. A second potential source of bias is a mismatch between the language used in the test and the first language of the test-taker. This type of bias is called linguistic bias and mostly affects English second language students (ESL). ESL students take longer to process information presented in English. Consequently, their performance on a test is more affected by linguistic or structural bias in a test (Schellenberg, 2004). The two types of bias arise as a result of vague wording, unnecessary linguistic complexities in the questions or their options, and errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

In summary, this paper has described two sources of testing bias. It has described the sources of content and linguistic/structural biases. These include socioeconomic and cultural differences. Linguistic differences between the examiner and test-taker, on the other hand, may lead to linguistic bias. Both sources of biases can be minimized through good-item construction and linguistic modification.


Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment. Philadelphia, PA: John Wiley & Sons.
McMillan, J. H. (2008). Assessment essentials for standards-based education. California, CA: Corwin Press.
Pharris, M. D. & Bosher, S. D. (2009). Transforming nursing education: The culturally inclusive student. New york, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Pressly, M. & McCormick, C. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Schellenberg, S. J. (2004). Test bias or cultural bias: Have we really learned anything? Retrieved from https://datacenter.spps.org/uploads/Test_Bias_Paper.pdf

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WePapers. (2021, February, 03) Testing Bias Essay. Retrieved July 01, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/
"Testing Bias Essay." WePapers, 03 Feb. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/. Accessed 01 July 2022.
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WePapers. Testing Bias Essay. [Internet]. February 2021. [Accessed July 01, 2022]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/
"Testing Bias Essay." WePapers, Feb 03, 2021. Accessed July 01, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/
WePapers. 2021. "Testing Bias Essay." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved July 01, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/).
"Testing Bias Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 03-Feb-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/. [Accessed: 01-Jul-2022].
Testing Bias Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/testing-bias-essay/. Published Feb 03, 2021. Accessed July 01, 2022.

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