February 16th, 2006

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

(no subject)

Can math tests be racially biased? Specifically ones for police entrance exams in this case.

From the article:

Between 2002 and mid-2005, about 59 percent of black applicants and 66 percent of Hispanic applicants passed the math test, compared with 85 percent of white applicants, according to the Justice Department letter.

One sample question framed a problem in the context of police work: “On Tuesday, Officer Jones worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. At 10:55 p.m. he was called to the scene of an accident where he remained until 1:30 a.m. How long past his regular shift did Officer Jones work?”

I have a hard time understanding how blacks and Hispanics doing worse on a math test implies the test is biased, and additionally how that math problem is biased. It might be sloppy reporting, and it might be my fault understanding...but it seems to me that it's more likely blacks and Hispanics are less educated in math (hence where the bias exists) as opposed to the test.