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Thread: New "Evidence" of Racial Bias on SAT

  1. #1
    Senior Moderator Carolus Magnus's Avatar
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    New "Evidence" of Racial Bias on SAT

    This report actually claims Blacks would do better if the questions were harder!

    News: New Evidence of Racial Bias on SAT - Inside Higher Ed

    The focus of both studies is on questions that show "differential item functioning," known by its acronym DIF. A DIF question is one on which students "matched by proficiency" and other factors have variable scores, predictably by race, on selected questions. A DIF question has notable differences between black and white (or, in theory, other subsets of students) whose educational background and skill set suggest that they should get similar scores. The 2003 study and this year's found no DIF issues in the mathematics section.

    But what Freedle found in 2003 has now been confirmed independently by the new study: that some kinds of verbal questions have a DIF for black and white students. On some of the easier verbal questions, the two studies found that a DIF favored white students. On some of the most difficult verbal questions, the DIF favored black students. Freedle's theory about why this would be the case was that easier questions are likely reflected in the cultural expressions that are used commonly in the dominant (white) society, so white students have an edge based not on education or study skills or aptitude, but because they are most likely growing up around white people. The more difficult words are more likely to be learned, not just absorbed.

    While the studies found gains for both black and white students on parts of the SAT, the white advantage is larger such that the studies suggest scores for black students are being held down by the way the test is scored and that a shift to favor the more difficult questions would benefit black test-takers.

    This in spite of the fact Whites beat the Black test takers in the reading section by 99 points.

    The existence of racial patterns on SAT scores is hardly new. The average score on the reading part of the SAT was 429 for black students last year -- 99 points behind the average for white students. And while white students' scores were flat, the average score for black students fell by one. Statistics like these are debated every year when SAT data are released, and when similar breakdowns are offered on other standardized tests.

    Overall scores show nothing new:

    (go to chart, click "view full table")

    White scores beat Black scores in Math, 536 to 426 (110 points) while Asians won overall with 587. Reading, Whites scored highest with 528, Asians getting 516, Blacks 429. Writing Asians barely beat Whites 520 to 517 and Blacks got a low 421.

    news: SAT Scores Drop, Gaps Grow - Inside Higher Ed

    It should be noted that math is the least culturally biased yet Blacks scored furtherest behind in that category. Also, Asians dominated Blacks and as Blacks have had a much larger presence for longer in America, thye should be less susceptible to cultural bias. Every "Hispanic" group beat Blacks in every category as well and they have as much if not more cultural bias than Blacks, many not even legally being in America.

  2. #2

    Another "Racially Biased" Test

    Last edited by prefatorial; 11-19-2011 at 01:03 AM.

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