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Socio-Economic Status and Predictive Test Scores

Turnbull, William W.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Culture Fair Tests, Intelligence Tests, Predictive Validity, Socioeconomic Influences


In considering the problem of culture-fairness in psychological testing, two closely related problems are also considered: 1) are there true differences in the abilities of different groups; and 2) how can tests be designed to reflect accurately these ability differences? Three tests by other investigators are cited, one of which employs circular reasoning in interpreting its results. It is concluded here that "for purposes of prediction of success in schools as now organized, intelligence tests appraise the ability of unfavored groups as fairly as they appraise the ability of the average or the favored groups and that, although the low average intelligence-quotient of the unfavored groups may be the fault of society or of biology, it is not due to unfairness inherent in the intelligence tests." It is further concluded that "these results, while important in themselves, have greater significance in terms of a general method or approach. In sum, that method is to define the criterion to which a test is intended to relate, and then to justify inter- group equality or inequality of test scores on the basis of its effect on prediction." " validity," the author concludes, "resides not in tests or test scores, but in the relation of test scores to criteria."

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