Bias, Bias And Fairness Essay

Bias, Bias And Fairness Essay

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This paper will explore the types of bias in testing, as well as examine the factors needed to determine if biases exist in psychological testing. The context will involve a test for cognitive ability and claims that the test is biased against a certain minority. Furthermore, fairness in testing will also be looked at in order to understand the concept in regards to tests. Bias and fairness may often be used synonymously, but bias can be measured when understood in terms of psychometrics; whereas fairness is more a product of a social system, and may normally be more subjective in its application (Aguinis, Culpepper, & Pierce, 2010). Additional information may also be provided as it pertains to the topics being discussed.
Biases in Testing
From a psychometric perspective, bias is any factor found in a test which continually impedes the ability to measure in a precise or impartial way (Cohen, Swerdlik, & Sturman, 2013). Test bias can also be explained as a systematic error, in contrast to a random variation in score, and would demonstrate systematic variation in test scores (Cohen et al., 2013; Hinkle, 1994). In this case, the organization is using a cognitive ability test with well-established predictive validity to make employee selections, and members of on specific minority group have tended to receive low scores. Even with well documented validity there is a possibility of excluding certain minority groups. Many selection procedures with high validity still have lower pass rates for some minority groups, such as racial groups and women (Sackett, Borneman, & Connelly, 2008; Williams, Schaffer, & Ellis, 2013). Therefore, although it would be ideal to use selection procedures that are highly valid and also create appropriate div...


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...ven once a test has been developed, or used, there are ways to test for biases, not just in analyzing the test items and constructs, but also statistically. Testing for predictive bias may be especially useful when dealing with cognitive ability tests, since this is a well-researched area. Although test bias can occur, it should not be confused with concepts of fairness. The perception of fairness may give the impression of bias within a test, even when there is no actual bias present. Caution should be exercised when making claims of bias or fairness in testing, since although they are similar in some ways, they differ significantly in the capacity to be defined and measured. Inquiry into test items and the relevancy of constructs should be the primary methods to determine bias, and fairness should only be used in psychometric terms of being equitable and impartial.

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