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Testing companies try to minimize these kinds of content problems by having test developers from a variety of backgrounds review items and by examining statistically if certain groups find some items easier or harder. However, problems do exist and a recent analyses of the verbal SAT tests indicated that whites tend to scores better on easy items whereas African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans score better on hard items (Freedle, 2002). While these differences are not large, they can influence test scores. Researchers think that the easy items involving words that are used in every day conversation may have subtly different meanings in different subcultures whereas the hard words (e.g. vehemence, sycophant) are not used in every conversation and so do not have these variations in meaning. Test formast can also influence test performance. Females typically score better at essay questions and when the SAT recently added an essay component, the females overall SAT verbal scores improved relative to males (Hoover, 2006).

Accuracy of predictions

Standardized tests are used among other criteria to determine who will be admitted to selective colleges. This practice is justified by predictive validity evidence—i.e. that scores on the ACT or SAT are used to predict first year college grades. Recent studies have demonstrated that the predictions for black and Latino students are less accurate than for white students and that predictors for female students are less accurate than male students (Young, 2004). However, perhaps surprisingly the test scores tend to slightly over predict success in college for black and Latino students, i.e. these students are likely to attain lower freshman grade point averages than predicted by their test scores. In contrast, test scores tend to slightly under predict success in college for female students, i.e. these students are likely to attain higher freshman grade point averages than predicted by their test scores. Researchers are not sure why there are differences in how accurately the SAT and ACT test predict freshman grades.

Stereotype threat

Groups that are negatively stereotyped in some area, such as women’s performance in mathematics, are in danger of stereotype threat, i.e. concerns that others will view them through the negative or stereotyped lens (Aronson&Steele, 2005). Studies have shown that test performance of stereotyped groups (e.g. African Americans, Latinos, women) declines when it is emphasized to those taking the test that (a) the test is high stakes, measures intelligence or math and (b) they are reminded of their ethnicity, race or gender (e.g. by asking them before the test to complete a brief demographic questionnaire). Even if individuals believe they are competent, stereotype threat can reduce working memory capacity because individuals are trying to suppress the negative stereotypes. Stereotype threat seems particularly strong for those individuals who desire to perform well. Standardized test scores of individuals from stereotyped groups may significantly underestimate actual their competence in low-stakes testing situations.

Do teachers teach to the tests?

There is evidence that schools and teachers adjust the curriculum so it reflects what is on the tests and also prepares students for the format and types of items on the test. Several surveys of elementary school teachers indicated that more time was spent on mathematics and reading and less on social studies and sciences in 2004 than 1990 (Jerald, 2006). Principals in high minority enrollment schools in four states reported in 2003 they had reduced time spent on the arts. Recent research in cognitive science suggests that reading comprehension in a subject (e.g. science or social studies) requires that students understand a lot of vocabulary and background knowledge in that subject (Recht&Leslie, 1988). This means that even if students gain good reading skills they will find learning science and social studies difficult if little time has been spent on these subjects.

Taking a test with an unfamiliar format can be difficult so teachers help students prepare for specific test formats and items (e.g. double negatives in multiple choice items; constructed response). Earlier in this chapter a middle school teacher, Erin, and Principal Dr Mucci described the test preparation emphasis in their schools. There is growing concern that the amount of test preparation that is now occurring in schools is excessive and students are not being educated but trained to do tests (Popham, 2004).

Do students and educators cheat?

It is difficult to obtain good data on how widespread cheating is but we know that students taking tests cheat and others, including test administrators, help them cheat (Cizek, 2003; Popham 2006). Steps to prevent cheating by students include protecting the security of tests, making sure students understand the administration procedures, preventing students from bringing in their notes or unapproved electronic devices as well as looking at each others answers. Some teachers and principals have been caught using unethical test preparation practices such as giving actual test items to students just before the tests, giving students more time than is allowed, answering students’ questions about the test items, and actually changing students’ answers (Popham, 2006). Concerns in Texas about cheating led to the creation of an independent task force in August 2006 with 15 staff members from the Texas Education Agency assigned investigate test improprieties. (Jacobson, 2006). While the pressure on schools and teachers to have their student perform well is large these practices are clearly unethical and have lead to school personnel being fired from their jobs (Cizek, 2003).

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Educational psychology. OpenStax CNX. May 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11302/1.2
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