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Fairness Guidelines

Goals of fairness review

ETS is committed to producing tests and other products that acknowledge and respect the diversity of test takers. We’re dedicated to ensuring that our customers enjoy equal access to our products. To meet these goals, ETS uses sensitivity reviews and differential item functioning (DIF) analysis.


Sensitivity and accessibility

ETS mandates a process by which all its products are evaluated for their sensitivity to and awareness of the contributions of a multicultural populace. That includes making certain our products do not use stereotyping and language, symbols, words or examples that are sexist, racist or otherwise offensive, inappropriate or negative toward any group.

Test questions are then subjected to DIF analysis ensuring that ETS's products and services meet the fairness standards mandated by the ETS Standards for Quality and Fairness. Fairness review also promotes a general awareness of responsiveness to the:

  • cultural diversity of the United States
  • diversity of background, cultural traditions and viewpoints found in both U.S. and international test-taking populations
  • changing roles and attitudes toward groups in U.S. society
  • contributions of various groups (including ethnic and minority groups, individuals with disabilities and women) to the history and culture of the United States and the achievements within these groups
  • role of language in setting and changing attitudes toward various groups.

Additionally, the ETS International Principles for the Fairness of Assessments (PDF) is an instructional guide for programs that develop tests primarily for international use.

Furthermore, ETS makes its products and services accessible to individuals with disabilities. Discover how by visiting the ETS Office of Disability Policy website.