ERIC Number: ED335183
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
The Alaska Statewide Student Testing Program: Are the Tests Biased? AK-ERA White Paper #1.
Judith Kleinfield; And Others
Addressing concerns of some Alaska educators and parents about the fairness of the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS), this paper clarifies what can be expected of norm-referenced tests and examines the extent to which the results of the Alaska Statewide Student Assessment may be affected by test bias. Although some test items may ask questions that are more within the common experience of urban children, they measure general knowledge and academic skills important in mainstream society. The ITBS tells educators and parents how children stand in the area of general knowledge and academic skills compared to children across the country. It is not a measure of intelligence, creativity, or other important human characteristics. To the extent that the basic language arts, reading, and mathematics skills covered by the ITBS are taught in Alaska schools, the tests are fair measures of what is taught. Possible explanations for ethnic differences in test scores are ethnic-group-related differences in average income, level of education, and the value placed on school achievement. Differences in the types of schools that minority students attend may also contribute to the differences in the test outcome. Riverside Publishing Company, which publishes the ITBS, attempts to minimize bias through item analysis by expert reviews and quantitative analyses of test results from tryout studies. Standardized tests can provide both individual and group information, but should be interpreted cautiously. Test results should be only one indicator of many used to determine school success or failure. (KS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alaska Educational Research Association, Anchorage.
Identifiers - Location: Alaska
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Iowa Tests of Basic Skills