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Cultural Bias in Standard Tests of Mental Abilities

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 13:08 authored by Judith K. Bernhard

[Para. 1 of Introduction]

Despite calls for equity and freedom from bias in education, the goal of fair outcomes has proven to be elusive. In a 1987 policy statement, the Ontario Ministry of Education focused on the issue of fair treatment of all students and the dangers of culturally biased tests, but the problem continues. In major Candian cities, school dropout rates among certain minority groups of both white and non-white races continue to be disproportionately high (Mackay and Myles, 1989; Radwansky, 1988; Wright and Tsuji, 1984). The low aspirations and expectations of these groups also reflect inequitable school experiences. Attitudes about one's self, one's abilities, and one's future are formed in the earliest years of school, and persist and are reinforced in later primary and secondary education. Early childhood educators would do well to become aware of the ways in which some well-known and standard educational assessment tools contribute to bias in the educational process.



Ryerson University