Cheating on The Tests

The controversial practice known as race norming was probably doing minorities more long-term harm than good

John Smith, a white, scores 327 on a vocational-aptitude test. Fred Jones, a black, gets only 283. But if the two applicants are sent to a prospective employer, their test results are said to rank identically at the 70th percentile. A computer error? No. The raw score Jones earned was compared only with the marks obtained by fellow blacks. Smith's number went into a blend of scores made by whites and "others." If a Hispanic takes the same test, his raw score is converted on a third curve reserved for Hispanics only.

Sound fair? It is -- and it isn't. "Within-group...

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