chapter  9
17 Pages

The Case for Bias in Tests of Achievement and Scholastic Aptitude

WithLorrie A. Shepard

Like a lightning rod, Arthur Jensen’s work has drawn public outrage against mental tests. Surely Jensen’s 1969 article, attributing IQ differences between blacks and whites to genetic differences, was not the sole cause of attacks on culturally biased tests. The civil rights movement would have discovered the role tests play in denying opportunities without Jensen. It would be fair to say, however, that no other single piece of work has incited so much controversy regarding the validity of mental measurements. Jensen said not only that the inferiority of blacks was real, but that it was permanent, fixed in the genetic code. Nevertheless, I believe Jensen was surprised by the vehemence and ad hominem character of the angry response. He was only reporting scientific facts or what he regarded as reasonable plausibilities based on the evidence. The claim that the tests were the cause of the observed difference seemed like blaming the messenger for unwelcome news.