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Race-norming, more formally called within-group score conversion and score adjustment strategy, is the practice of adjusting test scores to account for the race or ethnicity of the test-taker. In the United States, it was first implemented by the United States federal government in 1981 with little publicity,[1] and was subsequently outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.[2] Prior to being banned by the federal government, race-norming was practiced by 38 U.S. states' employment services.[3] The aim of this practice is to counteract alleged racial bias in aptitude tests administered to job applicants,[2] as well as in neuropsychological tests.[4] University of Delaware professor Linda Gottfredson has been very critical of this practice,[5][6] as have conservative columnist George Will[7] and law professor Robert J. Delahunty.[8] In the 1980s, the Reagan administration ordered a study into the unadjusted General Aptitude Test Battery (without race-norming); the results, released in 1989, showed that it was not strongly related to job performance.[9]


  1. ^ Rabin, Jack (1994). "Race Norming, Validity Generalization, and Employment Testing". Handbook of Public Personnel Administration. CRC Press. p. 451.
  2. ^ a b Greenlaw, Paul S.; Jensen, Sanne S. (March 1996). "Race-Norming and the Civil Rights Act of 1991". Public Personnel Management. 25 (1): 13–24. doi:10.1177/009102609602500102.
  3. ^ Miller, Leslie; McIntire, Sandra; Lovler, Robert (2011). Foundations of Psychological Testing: A Practical Approach. SAGE. p. 50.
  4. ^ Gasquoine, Philip G. (19 March 2009). "Race-Norming of Neuropsychological Tests". Neuropsychology Review. 19 (2): 250–262. doi:10.1007/s11065-009-9090-5.
  5. ^ Gottfredson, Linda S. (1994). "The science and politics of race-norming". American Psychologist. 49 (11): 955–963. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.49.11.955.
  6. ^ Gottfredson, Linda S (December 1988). "Reconsidering fairness: A matter of social and ethical priorities". Journal of Vocational Behavior. 33 (3): 293–319. doi:10.1016/0001-8791(88)90041-3.
  7. ^ Will, George F. (23 May 1991). "Seeing Nothing Normal in 'Race-Norming'". The Baltimore Sun.
  8. ^ Delahunty, Robert J (December 1988). "Perspectives on within-group scoring". Journal of Vocational Behavior. 33 (3): 463–477. doi:10.1016/0001-8791(88)90051-6.
  9. ^ "Test Cases: How 'Race-Norming' Works". Newsweek. 2 June 1991.

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