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Research Study on Psychological Testing and Multicuturalism

The following section presents psychometric issues which affect whether a test is biased culturally.

Cohen and Swerdlik (1999) contended that if a test developed and standardized on English-speaking people is to be translated into another language, precautions must be taken to ensure that the translation is indeed an equivalent form. Merely translating word for word is not satisfactory, because some words may have very different connotations, difficulties levels, or word frequencies in other language. If the testing is to be conducted in a language other than English, the examiner should ideally have had special training in administering the test in that language (Cohen & Swerdlik, 1999).

Cohen and Swerdlik (1999) also reported that the reliability and validity of a translated test should be established for the specific group for whom the test is to be used. Thus, for example, if an English-Language test is designed for use in this country, a translated test should be established separately with each of the various Spanish-Speaking groups of test takers with whom it might be used (Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorians and Guatemalans) (Cohen & Swerdlik, 1999).

Reliability refers to the accuracy and precision of a of data collection procedure and validity refers to the extent to which data or a data collection instrument measures what it is actually desired to measure (Gravetter & Wallnau, 2000). To accomplish the objective of validity in measurement, it is necessary to have some standard that is external to the measurement procedure, in order to evaluate the validity of the procedure. Thus, if the objective were to measure the height of a group of elementary school students in terms of feet and inches, it would be necessary to have a measuring instrument calibrated in feet and inches. The basis for assessing the validity of this measuring instrument calibrated in feet and inches, would be its ability to accurately measure feet ...

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