skip to main content skip to footer

Sex Bias in Educational Testing: A Sociologist's Perspective

Lockheed, Marlaine E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Evaluation Criteria, Sex Discrimination, Test Bias, Test Construction, Testing Problems


Several criteria for assessing bias in educational tests are presented and discussed. These criteria were developed in accordance with basic notions of fairness, equality, and expanded life options for women. In terms of prescriptions for test developers, the criteria are: (1) tests should be constructed of items which contain either no sex references or equal sex references; (2) status of males and females within the test should be equal; (3) item content should not reinforce traditional sex stereotypes. Tests currently in use may be considered biased if; (4) item content in terms of male or female statuses or stereotypes affects the performance of males or females differentially; (5) the test predicts differentially for males and females; (6) the test is normed separately for males and females unless separate norms are used to insure balance in selection; (7) the test is constructed so that female futures may be separated from male futures.

Read More