[IPAC-List] Paradox in the 1999 APA Standards

Patrick McCoy Patrick.McCoy at psc-cfp.gc.ca
Fri May 28 11:13:11 EDT 2010

Hello Joel:

That quote is a bit surprising. Quite a bit of research used to show that with one regression line the performance of minorities is actually often "over predicted" rather than under predicted. That is, minorities perform worse in school or on the job than the equation would suggest they would (which would imply more false positives for minorities; right?).

Two relevant references are:

Zwick, R. (2002). Fair game?: The use of standardized admission tests in higher education. NY: Routledge Falmer; Chapter 5 might be most useful

Sackett,P.R., & Wilk,S.L. (1994). Within-group norming and other forms of score adjustment in preemployment testing. American Psychologist, 49(11), 929-954

Good luck! This is likely a difficult area.

Pat McCoy,Ph.D.
Ottawa, Canada

>>> Joel Wiesen <jwiesen at appliedpersonnelresearch.com> 5/27/2010 7:09 pm >>>

A paradox that is seen in selection applications is described in the APA
Standards as follows:

"... a given selection score and criterion threshold will often result
in proportionately more false negative decisions in groups with lower
mean test scores. In other words, a lower-scoring group will usually
have a higher proportion of examinees who are rejected on the basis of
their test scores even though they would have performed successfully if
they had been selected. This seeming paradox is a statistical
consequence of the imperfect correlation between test and criterion."
(AERA, APA, NCME, 1999, page 79, col 2.)

The Standards do not provide a literature citation for this statement.
Can anyone point me to published literature on this topic?



Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director
Applied Personnel Research
62 Candlewood Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583-6040
(617) 244-8859

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