Examining the Fairness of Higher Education Admissions for Applicants Who Request Test Accommodations

Examining the Fairness of Higher Education Admissions for Applicants Who Request Test Accommodations

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Examining the Fairness of Higher Education Admissions for Applicants Who Request Test Accommodations

The present study examines the fairness of higher education admissions practices with respect to three different groups of people granted accommodations for the Psychometric Entrance Test (PET) in Israel: those with Learning Disabilities (LD, N=958), those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, N=187), and those with Physical Disabilities (PH, N=1,096). In addition, we examined the fairness of the admissions process with respect to individuals whose requests for accommodations were denied, either on technical grounds (MD, N=299) or because of professional considerations (DP, N=1,458).Since the focal groups were very small relative to the reference group to which they were being compared (RS, N=120,503), we first used propensity scores with respect to the covariates of gender and age to match individuals from the reference group to individuals in the various focal groups.Fairness can be measured in two ways: the first is bias in selection, and the second is predictive accuracy. We applied Cleary',s model in order to detect possible biases and used Pearson correlation coefficients between the predictor and the criterion to determine predictive accuracy.The results showed no bias with respect to the LD, ADHD and the DP groups, a small bias in favor of the PH group (on all predictors), and a very small under-prediction for the MD group (on all predictors except the Bagrut). Comparing the validity coefficients of the focal group with that of the reference group, we see that the results are quite similar for the PET and somewhat higher for the reference groups on the Bagrut and the Composite Score (except for the MD group). This is especially true for the LD and ADHD groups.Key Words: Fairness, Cleary, Propensity, Accommodations

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