Wednesday, March 9, 2011

psychometrics- testing is racist

A quick blurb, as I hope to come back to this topic in depth but after two days of administering, coordinating, packaging up CAHSEE exams, I'm a little brain dead.... so do excuse the ill format and lack of semblance here...

Psychometrics- Much of the early theoretical and applied work in psychometrics was undertaken in an attempt to measure intelligence. Francis Galton, often referred to as "the father of psychometrics", (Galton was a proponent of eugenics...I've posted a bit on that and it's a whole 'nother topic). More recently, psychometric theory has been applied in the measurement of personality, attitudes, and beliefs, and academic achievement. (wkipedia)

Standardized tests are "made" and "run" (i.e. if you call the standardized test office and talk to one of their head gurus. they work in psychometrics and studied it) by psychometrics (me)

"ETS utilises psychometric expertise to ensure that all assessments are reliable, valid, and fair" (etsglobal website)....yeah right...

 The majority position of the Panel was to
discontinue the practice of flagging the SAT I based on scientific, psychometric, and social
evidence. While concern for the integrity of the SAT I is laudable, the Panel determined that this
legitimate concern should not result in a bias against applicants taking the SAT I with extended
time when scientific, psychometric, and social evidence challenge the continued practice of flagging (

"Sir Francis Galton has often been described as ‘the father of
psychometrics’, and as early as 1883 he had suggested that people of
genius might also possess other psychological attributes such as
unusually fine sensory discrimination....Galton’s focus was neither psychology nor psychometrics. The driving
force behind his work was always eugenics, his own protégé subject, and
its experimental method of anthropometrics. It was to further this work
that he caused to be set up the Department of Eugenics at University
College London, endowing a Chair of Eugenics in that institution on his
death. In fact, it is the discipline of statistics itself that was to be
the main beneficiary of his endeavours; a statistics without which none
of today’s measurement sciences of psychometrics, biometrical genetics,
educational assessment, biometrics and econometrics would have been
possible. (

psychometrics tries to order people by intelligence, through eugenic (think classist and racist) means.
So these are the folks making and running our standardized tests??? (me)

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