It looks like it’s not only the SAT’s that have a gender and race bias. Even the simple California Exit Exams are biased. Now, I might be a bit biased here due to having competed in mathematics for many years and being an accounting student, but I just want to roll my eyes.

A test can’t be biased. It’s a piece of paper that has no opinion about the person making markings on it. However, asking a student his gender and race before the test has been shown to have an impact on the scoring. Reminding a girl or a student of non-white or non-Asian ethnicity that they are not white or not Asian causes them to do worse. Or better, depending on their personality. But mostly worse.

And yes, being Asian helped. When white boys were given tests that asked their race when sitting next to Asian boys, they would do worse than if they had not been asked their race since they expected the Asian boys to be smart.

The moral? Don’t ask the gender or ethnicity before a test. Do it after the exam if you absolutely have to. There goes a large part of the bias.

(For the record, I don’t understand how people still find the exit exam difficult. It tests basic arithmetic and reading skills one should have learned by the fourth grade.)