.. ce in education or for a job interview. Conversely, Garrett (1947) proposes that the higher test performance by the white race is an indication of a superior genetic intelligence. Additionally, Jensen (1969) suggested that the test differences were a result of genetic differences between Negroes and whites. Obviously this argument caused great debate. An alternative viewpoint exists which believes that the intellectual superiority of the white population stems from environmental factors, rather than hereditary ones. These include; deficient diets, lack of language skills which leads to lower ability.
Yet this standpoint denies any real genetic difference between racial groups. Another belief is that the tests themselves are culturally “loaded” and therefore differentially familiar to individuals from different cultural backgrounds. A strong argument is that much of the item content in current intelligence tests is not familiar to the culturally deprived. Jensen (1966) puts forward he proposition that the verbal nature of many IQ tests could account for test differences. He agues that since culturally disadvantaged have had relatively less experience with verbal material this could account for their lower scores. Anita, Smith, Ray Hays, and Solway (1977) conduced an interesting study in the hope of determining whether the Culture Fair Intelligence Test was more efficient in screening a population than the WISC-R.
The format of the Culture Fair test used was evolved in 1949 through the work of Cattell in attempting to measure fluid and crystallised general ability. The findings were that the Culture Fair is a better measure of intelligence than the WISC-R. The reasons they put forward for this are that the effect of cultural bias is reduced and a more accurate picture of intellectual capacity is therefore produced. From this study it is reasonable to say that an intelligence test can be described as culture fair. Yet, problems are not completely dissipated and “the Culture Fair is not et a complete solution for problems of cultural influences in the measurement of intelligence”.
Anita e al (1977). Anastasi (1968) defines a culture fair test as a test that controls the relevant variables that influence test scores. It is possible to construct a test, which presumes only experiences that are common to different cultures; these types of test utilize elements that are common to all cultures and no others. Conversely, no existing test is entirely unrestricted in its cultural reference. Relevant factors which differ from culture to culture must be take into consideration when looking a culture fair tests. These include: the use of paper and pencil, the presentation of abstract tasks which have no practical significance, pictures in cultures unaccustomed to representative drawing, intrinsic interest of test content, rapport with the examiner, desire to excel others, and past habits of solving problems in a group or individually (see Figure 1).
Evidence even exists that the presence of an examiner of a different racial or cultural group may interfere with rapport during administration and have consequences on test performance. Canady (1936) studied Negro and white school children that were given the Stanford-Binet by both Negro and white examiners. The findings were that in both white and Negro groups, the mean IQ was about six points higher when an examiner of their own race tested the participants. Performance tests Pencil and paper tests Nonverbal content Verbal content Power tests Speed tests Oral instructions Written instructions Familiar item content Unfamiliar to all item content Figure 1. Some dimensions along which culture fair tests might vary. Taken from Some comments on culture fair tests Richard Arvey.
The left side represents test variables which are less culturally biased. A startlingly interesting idea is that the concept of intelligence may be culturally conditioned. This thought comes into being as the criterion employed in validating intelligence tests is usually success in our society. Scores on the test are correlated with school achievement and if the correlations are high, it is decided that the test is a good measure of “intelligence”. Therefore intelligence tests measure the ability to succeed in our particular culture and nothing else. The cultural factors that may affect performance on psychological tests include: general traditions and customs, motivation to excel on the sort of tasks sampled by intelligence tests, and social expectancy.
As we have seen, culture-fair tests attempt to utilize content common to all cultures. Yet, such tests still tend to favour certain cultures in various ways. Within a certain culture, particular abilities and certain ways of behaving are selected and therefore any test developed within a particular culture reflects such a selection and consequently favours individuals reared in the culture. It is inherently clear that “tests cannot be developed in a vacuum, but instead are dependant on a subject pool that has been raised in some environment.” Richard Arvey (1972). Dreger and Miller (1960) believe that an intelligence test can never be culture fair. They came to this conclusion through analysing a series of studies, which make comparisons between backs and white on “culture-fair” tests.
All the studies they investigated showed whites still performing better on the tests than the black participants. Hence, their viewpoint that “the search for a culture fair test is illusory”. On the other hand, perhaps there is no need to develop a more culture-fair test. The reasons why this might be true revolve around the idea that the cultural actors that cause poor performance on an IQ test, may affect the participants capability of actually doing the job. A culturally disadvantaged individual who has a deficit of verbal skills may not do well in a particular job because of the same deficit. Anastasi (1968) argues, “A test constructed entirely from elements that are equally familiar in many cultures might measure trivial functions and possess little theoretical or practical validity in any culture”.
Due to the lack of theory and the subjective basis of the questions used in current IQ tests, it is near impossible to make the current IQ tests culture fair. At present, we have no way of reasonably comparing groups from different regions and/or cultures. No test can be truly culture-fair, as tests cannot be designed in a cultural vacuum. Matarazzo (1992) argued that biological tests of intelligence might one day become normative. He suggests this as evidence has suggested that members of minority groups score even lower on culture fair tests, thus speculating that biological measures may in fact be culture fair.
Richard Davis (1993) stated that biological tests “represent a potential for objectivity typically not achieved in the fields of intelligence and cognitive testing”. Bibliography REFERANCES Anastasi, A. (1964) Culture-fair testing. Educational Horizons, Fall. Anastasi, (1968) A. Psychological testing. New York: MacMillan Co.
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Arvey, R.D. (1972). Some comments on culture fair tests, Personnel Psychology, 433-446. Canady, H.G. (1936) The intelligence of Negro college students and parental occupation, Amer. J. Social, 42, 388-389.
Darlington, R.B. (1971) Another look at “cultural fairness”. Journal of Educational Measurement, 8, 71-82. Davis, R. (1993). Biological tests of intelligence as culture fair.
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(1966). The testing of Negro intelligence, (2nd Ed.) New York: Social Science Press. Taylor, V.R. (1968). Control of cultural bias in testing: An action program. Public Personnel Review, July 3-14.