The Effect of Computer-Based Tests on Racial/Ethnic, Gender, and Language Groups

Gallagher, Ann; Bridgeman, Brent; Cahalan, Cara
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computer-based testing CBT gender race ethnicity language assessment


This study examined data from several national testing programs to determine whether the change from paper-based administration to computer-based tests (CBTs) influences group differences in performance. Performance by gender, racial/ethnic, and language groups on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), the SAT I: Reasoning (SAT) test, the Praxis: Professional Assessment for Beginning Teachers (Praxis), and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) was analyzed to ensure that the change to CBTs does not pose a disadvantage to any of these subgroups, beyond that already identified for paper-based tests. Although all differences were quite small, some consistent patterns were found for some racial/ethnic and gender groups. African American examinees and, to a lesser degree, Hispanic examinees appear to benefit from the CBT format. However, for some tests, the CBT version negatively impacted female examinees. Analyses by gender within race/ethnicity revealed a similar pattern, though only for White females. Analyses for groups based on language showed no consistent patterns, but results indicate that the computer-based TOEFL has increased impact for some language groups-- especially Chinese and Korean groups.

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