skip to main content skip to footer

Testing Practices, Minority Groups, and Higher Education: A Review and Discussion of the Research

Flaugher, Ronald L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Management Admissions Council, College Admission, Higher Education, Literature Reviews, Minority Groups, Predictive Measurement, Test Validity


Some of the controversial issues involved in the use of objective tests by institutions of higher education, as this use affects the selection and attendance by members of minority groups, are reviewed. Admissions committees now rely on the ability of a test to predict students' performance at their institution to guide their selection. However, minority group members have criticized such uses of test scores. Three potential sources of bias against minority groups include: irrelevance of the test content, particularly verbal content, to their culture and background; discriminatory administration of the testing program; and discriminatory use of the test results. Research investigating the comparative performance of minority and majority group members, the predictive validity of tests, and the influence of the testing environment on performance is reviewed. Efforts to isolate culturally biased test items have been unsuccessful. Evidence indicates that minority group members tend to score less well on most tests; however, tests seem to validly predict academic success regardless of the student's background. In addition, the physical and psychological atmosphere in which the test is administered seems to have a significant influence on performance. Suggestions for supplementary research are delineated. (PR)

Read More