ERIC Number: EJ824548
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Implications for Social Policy of Variability in Racial Groups
Helms, Janet E.
American Psychologist, v63 n8 p721-739 Nov 2008
Social policy and federal and state legislation require the use of single cut scores when tests of cognitive ability, knowledge, or skills (CAKS) are used to make high-stakes assessment decisions, such as whether students or employees may be promoted. Rationales offered for the requirement are that cut scores provide objective standards and are fairer than using subjective criteria, such as racial group membership. It is argued that failure to consider threats to statistical conclusion validity, such as differences in variability between groups, obscures the differential impact of using a common cut score as the basis for highstakes decisions. Analyses of 40 Black and White samples revealed that (a) Whites might be considerably advantaged and Blacks might be considerably disadvantaged by the same cut score and (b) depending on where the cut score is set, decisions based on ratios of numbers of Whites numbers of Blacks might be fairer than use of CAKS test cut scores. Implications for assessment practice and social policy are discussed.
Descriptors: Race, State Legislation, Cutting Scores, Whites, Cognitive Ability, Ethnic Groups, Federal Legislation, Validity, Racial Relations
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A