A cross-cultural test of the situational bias hypothesis. The israeli scene

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The major aim of this study was to test the commonly held assumption, within the Israeli educational context, that the relatively poor mean performance of disadvantaged students on conventional ability tests is due, in part, to extraneous situational factors, systematically disadvantageous to their test performance. To that end, two controlled field experiments were conducted on independent samples of n = 288 and n = 48 elementary school pupils, respectively. The first experiment centered on the interaction between sociocultural group characteristics and each of two situational factors, namely, test atmosphere and examiner status, in affecting ability test performance. The second experiment explored the effects of test atmosphere per se on the nonverbal ability test scores of disadvantaged pupils. On the whole, this research provides evidence inconsistent with the situational bias hypothesis and does not support the assumption that disadvantaged children's ability test scores can be substantially improved by manipulating test atmosphere conditions. In view of the evidence showing that situational variables do not significantly bias testing results in favor of one group over another, it follows that current educational evaluation policies in Israel, relying heavily on the standardized ability tests results of disadvantaged groups, need not be changed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-376
Number of pages10
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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