Higher Education

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 507–522 | Cite as

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

  • Moshe Zeidner


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.


Discrimination Index Test Bias Aptitude Test Scholastic Achievement Scholastic Aptitude Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Block, N.J. & Dworkin, G. (1976). IQ, heritability and inequality. In Block, N.J. & Dworkin, G. The IQ controversy. New York: Pantheon Books, 410–540.Google Scholar
  2. Cleary, T.A., Humphreys, L.G., Kendrick, S.A. & Wesman, A. (1975). Educational uses of tests with disadvantaged students. American Psychologist 30: 15–41.Google Scholar
  3. Cole, M. & Bruner, J.S. (1971). Cultural differences and inferences about psychological processes. American Psychologist 26: 867–876.Google Scholar
  4. Feuerstein, R. (1979). The dynamic assessement of retarded performers. Baltimore: University Park Press.Google Scholar
  5. Flaugher, R.L. (1970). Testing practices: Minority groups and higher education (ETS research bulletin). Princeton: Educational Testing Service.Google Scholar
  6. Freund, R.J. & Littell, R.C. (1981). SAS for linear models: a guide to the ANOVA and GLM procedures. Cary: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar
  7. Goldman, M. (ed.). (1980). Society in Israel: Statistical Highlights 11, Jerusalem: Central Bureau of Statistics.Google Scholar
  8. Jensen, A.R. (1980). Bias in mental testing. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  9. Jensen, A. (1984). Test bias: concepts and criticisms. In C.R. Reynolds & R.T. Brown (eds). Perspectives on bias in mental testing (pp. 507–586). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kleinberger, A.F. (1969). Society, schools and progress in Israel. Pergamon Press: London.Google Scholar
  11. Lewis, A. (1979). Power, poverty and education. Ramat-Gan: Turtledove Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Linn, R.L. (1973). Fair test use in selection. Review of Educational Research 43: 139–161.Google Scholar
  13. Manning, W.H. & Jackson, R. (1984). College entrance examinations: objective selection or gatekeeping for the economically priveleged. In: C.R. Reynolds & R.T. Brown (eds), Perspectives on bias in mental testing (pp. 189–223). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  14. Mercer, J.R. (1978/1979). Test validity, bias and fairness: an analysis from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. Interchange 9: 1–16.Google Scholar
  15. Nevo, B. (1985, February). Obtaining feedback from examinees. In: M. Zeidner (Chair). Psychometric Testing: the Examinee Perspective. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Israeli Psychological Association. Ramat Gan, Israel.Google Scholar
  16. Reynolds, C.R. (1982). Methods for detecting construct and prediction bias. In: R.A. Berk (ed.). Handbook of methods for detecting test bias (pp. 199–227). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  17. Reynolds, C.R. (1983). Test bias: in God we trust, all others must have data. Journal of Special Education 17: 241–260.Google Scholar
  18. Reynolds, C.R. & Brown, R.T. (1984). Bias in mental testing: an introduction to the issues. In: C.R. Reynolds & R.T. Brown (eds.), Perspectives on bias in mental testing (pp. 1–38). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  19. Riessman, F. (1974). The hidden IQ. In: Gartner, A., Greer, C. & Riessman, F. (eds), The new assault on equality: IQ and social stratification. New York: Harper & Row, 206–223.Google Scholar
  20. Rock, D.A., Werts, C. & Grandy, J. (1982). Construct validity of the GRE aptitude test across populations - an empirical confirmatory study (ETS research report no. 81–57). Princeton: Educational Testing Service.Google Scholar
  21. Samuda, R.J. (1975). Psychological testing of American minorities. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  22. Samuda, R.J. (1983). Cross-cultural testing within a multicultural society. In: S.H. Irvine & J.W. Berry (eds). Human assessment and cultural factors (pp. 591–606). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  23. Slutzki, S. (1985, October). Examinations as obstacles. Al Hamishmar, pp. 6-7.Google Scholar
  24. Stahl, A. (1977). The Language and thought of culturally disadvantaged students in Israel. Tel Aviv: Otsar HaMoreh (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  25. Thorndike, R.L. (1982). Applied psychometrics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  26. Williams, R.L. (1971). Abuses and Misuses in testing black children. Counselling Psychology 2: 62–67.Google Scholar
  27. Zeidner, M. (1985). A cross-cultural test of the situational bias hypothesis - the Israeli Scene. Evaluation and Program Planning 8: 267–276.Google Scholar
  28. Zeidner, M. (in press). Sex differences in scholastic aptitude: the Israeli scene. Personality and Individual Differences.Google Scholar
  29. Zeidner, M. (Chair). (February, 1985). Psychometric Testing: the Examinee Perspective. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Israeli Psychological Association. Ramat Gan, Israel.Google Scholar
  30. Zeidner, M. (Chair). (July, 1986). Psychometric Testing: the Israeli Scene. Symposium conducted at the 21st congress of the International Association of Applied Psychology. Jerusalem, Israel.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moshe Zeidner
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, University of HaifaMt. CarmelIsrael

Personalised recommendations