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AWM Statement on Fairness in Testing

AWM Statement on Fairness in Testing
March 2011


We support the Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education. (2004).
Washington, DC: Joint Committee on Testing Practices:

 

http://www.apa.org/science/programs/testing/fair-code.aspx

 

The code elaborates on the fundamental principle that testers "have an obligation to provide and use tests that are fair to all test takers regardless of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, linguistic background, or other personal characteristics."

We specifically note the large body of literature on bias in testing. Multiple studies show that calling attention to gender or ethnicity prior to a test results in a statistically significant decrease in test scores among individuals whose gender or ethnicity is

stereotypically associated with lower performance in the subject area. Therefore we support not collecting, mentioning, or listing demographic information immediately prior to or during a test. Rather, such information should be collected or verified during a registration several days or perhaps weeks prior to testing; alternatively this collection and verification can be performed after the test has been completed. Information about test takers may bias graders as well, so we support precautionary measures.  Therefore when feasible, a grader should not be given any personal or demographic information regarding the test takers.

 

Further Resources

http://pages.uoregon.edu/wmnmath/Publications/Bibliographies/fairness.html

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