Blog Post 1: Standardized tests in hiring?

As the use of standardized tests for school admissions comes increasingly under fire for discrimination (even appearing in popular press articles like this 2019 Washington Post article), research about bias in hiring decisions may suggest a utility in standardized testing for hiring. A series of studies has shown that implicit bias can play a significant role in hiring decisions. For example, we discussed the Moss-Racusin et al. (2012) paper that showed that, holding all else equal, an applicant’s gender can affect whether they’re hired for a laboratory manager position and what salary they’re offered. Gender also influenced assessments of competence, which in turn impacted those hiring decisions. A number in the form of a standardized test score, however, carries the same meaning regardless of gender, race, social status, etc. While the hirer ‘s internal biases can still color their perception of that number, the test score still serves as a means of level comparison of applicants. Furthermore, unlike admissions tests which have a whole infrastructure surrounding them offering wealthier applicants easy means of preparing for and re-taking the tests moreso than other applicants, standardized tests for hiring are typically not so ubiquitous as to offer wealthier applicants such a large advantage. So, incorporation of standardized tests into the hiring process might be a way for organizations to combat hiring discrimination.

One Reply to “Blog Post 1: Standardized tests in hiring?”

  1. Hi, I think this is an interesting idea for hiring. I was a nurse manager for four and a half years. Part of my job was interviewing and hiring new employees. For a medical field, I think hiring off a standardized test would be difficult. A medical professional might do really well on a standardized test, but not have good bedside manner. I think that there would still be a heavy emphasis on the interview even if a standardized test was involved.

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