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Asking Differently about Race and Ethnicity: New Needs for a Changing Population DIF BIQ

Klieger, David M.; Adler, Rachel; Ezzo, Chelsea
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Race, Ethnicity, Diversity, Demographics, Monoracial Persons, Multiracial Persons, Background Information Questionnaire (BIQ), 1997 Standards, Differential Item Functioning (DIF), Differential Prediction, Predictive Bias, Fairness


Using stratified sampling and online questionnaires, we explored U.S.-style and international-style questions about race and ethnicity as potential replacements of or supplements to the questions on ETS’s current GRE Background Information Questionnaire (BIQ). We investigated the effects of U.S. citizenship, birth country, U.S. permanent residency status, mono- and multiraciality, and Hispanic origin on the preferences that survey respondents had for certain question formats and content. Furthermore, we analyzed the qualitative survey responses to determine respondents’ major concerns about various question formats. In response to the survey results, we recommend that ETS’s current BIQ be amended to include (a) more pluralistic U.S.-style questions about race and ethnicity that conform to U.S. federal standards and (b) certain international-style questions.

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