Test Fairness, Test Bias, and DIF

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I became personally interested in test bias studies in the late 1980s as a doctoral student at UCLA following the publication of the Chen and Henning (1985) study on test bias, arguably the first such study in the field of language assessment. Miyuki Sasaki and I subsequently replicated the study, which we jointly presented at the Second Language Research Forum Conference held at UCLA in 1989 and then developed separate publications (Kunnan, 1990, 1992; Sasaki, 1991). I then became interested in the concept of test fairness and argued that it should be connected to validity at the Language Testing Research Colloquium in Tampere, Finland, in 1996 (Kunnan, 1997). I proposed that test fairness has to be related to test validity and test validation. I later developed a test fairness framework (Kunnan, 2000, 2004) in which I presented absence of bias as a test quality and argued that one way of reducing or eliminating bias would be through studies that examined test items for differential item functioning (DIF).

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  • Antony John Kunnan

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