Check GMAT Club Decision Tracker for the Latest School Decision Releases

It is currently 25 May 2017, 19:25


GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance


we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.


Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

Demystifying the GMAT: Guarding Against Bias- by GMAC

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
User avatar
Status: Been a long time guys...
Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 1381
Location: United States (NY)
Concentration: Finance, Marketing
GPA: 3.75
Followers: 178

Kudos [?]: 1462 [0], given: 62

GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member
Demystifying the GMAT: Guarding Against Bias- by GMAC [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 05 Jan 2013, 10:21
By Lawrence M. Rudner

When I first took the GMAT exam in 1989, almost all test takers were American or English-speaking Canadian citizens seeking to attend school in North America. Only a small number of non-English-speaking test takers who also wanted to attend a North American school took the GMAT exam in those days. Back then, GMAC did not need to be concerned about native English speakers having an unfair advantage. Today, however, slightly more than half of GMAT test takers are non-US citizens, and we at GMAC recognize the importance of providing a test that is fair, valid and reliable for all test takers, regardless of their native language.

A fair and reliable test means that all individuals of the same ability should get the same scores. It does not suggest that the averages by native language should be approximately equal. Different groups are expected to have different sets of skills, and within any group, there is also a self-selection bias. Sorry, Argentina, your extremely high mean GMAT Total score does not mean that you are smarter than the rest of us or that the GMAT exam is biased in your favor. It may just mean that in Argentina, only those very qualified for management study actually take the test.

Yes, the GMAT test is administered in English and is designed for programs that teach in English. But the required English skill level is much less than what students will need in the classroom. The exam requires just enough English to allow us to adequately and comprehensively assess Verbal reasoning, Quantitative reasoning and Integrated Reasoning skills. Although the GMAT exam is not a grammar test, it is worth noting that grammar tests do not necessarily favor native speakers, because non-native speakers often learn grammar better than native speakers who go by the “sounds right” rule. I was once turned down for a job as an English language instructor in Italy because my spoken English contained grammar mistakes.

While the GMAT exam tests reasoning and not English, there are several ways bias in favor of native speakers can be introduced into an exam.
Use vocabulary, idioms, and constructions that are not universal. My favorite example is skimmed milk. You might expect all educated individuals applying to a graduate level English language program would know skimmed milk. But in India, toned milk and double toned milk are common, and skimmed milk is rare. Vacation and holiday, and quite and very, are other examples. Also under this category are the use of double negatives (The GMAT is not unfair), contractions (should’ve), abbreviations (for example, e.g.), imperatives, possessives, and some sentence structures (Do you have a pencil? Have you a pencil?).

Use culturally loaded phrases, idioms, and constructions. Most people who grew up in North America would probably know what is meant by a Mickey Mouse job (a job that is trivial and a waste of time), the whole nine yards (everything), or skedaddle (depart quickly). Also under this category are military terms (your mission), sports terms (game plan), colloquialisms (lots more), regional terms (pop, hoagie), metaphors (launch an idea), euphemisms (under the weather), clichés (between a rock and a hard place), literary references (wears his heart on his sleeve), scriptural references (last straw), US cultural references (Big Mac), lesser known US places and people (McKinley), acronyms (ASAP), and initials (IRS).

Use culturally offensive phrases, idioms, and constructions. This includes the use of ethnic slurs, derogatory terms, positive and negative stereotypes, and references that rely on or ignore belief systems (drinking alcohol, eating pork).

Culturally based, loaded, and offensive terms do not always result in differences in performance, but we do not want test takers to be distracted by culturally insensitive questions. We carefully review our questions using criteria defining good item construction. We also compute statistics to assess whether our questions are appropriate across culture groups. We constantly update guidelines for our item writers, including a master list of terms and phrases to avoid in order to assure cultural fairness.

By using carefully defined and thorough item development and review processes, along with statistical analyses to flag questions with possible cultural bias, we have developed a test that minimizes the impact of culture and language. The GMAT exam is the best objective measure of the likelihood of success in management programs across the globe.

If you have any doubts about the validity of the GMAT exam for your program, we urge you to participate in our free GMAT Validity Study Service. In addition to providing valuable statistics about the exam and subgroup performance in your program, this service designed by admissions personnel provides you with the statistically optimal weights for Quantitative, Verbal, Total, undergraduate GPA, and other criteria of your choice, with Integrated Reasoning soon to come. Coupling this information with your assessment of candidate tenacity can help you meet and exceed your admission goals.

Lawrence M. Rudner, PhD, MBA, is vice president of research and development and chief psychometrician for the Graduate Management Admission Council.

Prepositional Phrases Clarified|Elimination of BEING| Absolute Phrases Clarified
Rules For Posting

Demystifying the GMAT: Guarding Against Bias- by GMAC   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2013, 10:21
    Similar topics Author Replies Last post
2 Experts publish their posts in the topic Sampling bias? TheLostOne 5 15 Sep 2015, 23:02
14 GMAT Demystified: Great ebook to get started with (Download) harshvinayak 7 24 Nov 2012, 20:39
2 Experts publish their posts in the topic Demystifying Percentiles? 90abyss 1 17 Oct 2012, 11:39
1 Experts publish their posts in the topic BIG Speculation: Demystifying GMAT Format 2013 bb 11 26 Apr 2010, 05:45
17 GMAT Myths -- from GMAC Conference Praetorian 12 01 Sep 2011, 14:32
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Demystifying the GMAT: Guarding Against Bias- by GMAC

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  

Moderator: HiLine

GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group and phpBB SEO

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.