Exploring the various interpretations of "test bias". Academic Article uri icon


  • Test bias is a hotly debated topic in society, especially as it relates to diverse groups of examinees who often score low on standardized tests. However, the phrase "test bias" has a multitude of interpretations that many people are not aware of. In this article, we explain five different meanings of "test bias" and summarize the empirical and theoretical evidence related to each interpretation. The five meanings are as follows: (a) mean group differences, (b) differential predictive validity, (c) differential item functioning, (d) differing factor structures of tests, and (e) unequal consequences of test use for various groups. We explain in this article why meanings (a) and (e) are not actual forms of test bias and that there are serious concerns about (b). In our conclusion, we discuss the benefits of standardized testing for diverse examinees and urge readers to be careful and precise in their use of the phrase "test bias."

published proceedings

  • Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol

altmetric score

  • 6.95

author list (cited authors)

  • Warne, R. T., Yoon, M., & Price, C. J.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Warne, Russell T||Yoon, Myeongsun||Price, Chris J

publication date

  • October 2014