, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 507-522

Are scholastic aptitude tests in Israel biased towards Arab college student candidates?

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Abstract

This study sets out to examine empirically the cross-cultural validity of the “test bias” contention as applied to scholastic aptitude testing in the Israeli scene. The analyses were based on the test scores of 1017 Arab and 1778 Jewish student applicants to a major Israeli campus, who were administered standardized scholastic aptitude tests as part of routine precollege admissions procedures. The psychometric properties of four subtests appearing on both the Arabic and Hebrew versions of the University admissions aptitude test battery were compared for Jewish and Arab student candidate subgroups, via a variety of internal (e.g., factor structure, reliability, standard error of measurement, discrimination indices, etc.) as well as external (e.g., predictive validity, standard error of estimate, etc.) criteria. A comparison of the reliability indices, by culture, shows aptitude tests scores to be somewhat less reliable measures for Arab compared to Jewish student candidates. Also, scholastic aptitude test scores reveal significant, but slight, intercept bias, tending to overpredict the scholastic achievement of Arab student candidates. On the whole, however, the data were consistent with the results of previous research carried out in the American cultural scene, reporting negligible differences in construct or predictive test validity across varying cultural groups and the findings appear to be more consistent with the “psychometric” than with the “cultural bias” position.