The “Flynn Effect” and Decision Making in Education: Addressing Fairness Concerns

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The “Flynn Effect” and Decision Making in Education: Addressing Fairness Concerns

Chapter 11

Tomoe Kanaya, Jonathan Wai, Frank C. Worrell

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In this chapter, the authors review the Flynn effect in relation to the issue of fairness in testing. The question they ask is as follows: What are the implications of the Flynn effect for psychoeducational testing, college admissions, and the classification of students as gifted and talented or intellectually disabled, given the differences in classification rates when test norms age and when new norms are introduced? The authors begin with a description of the Flynn effect and discuss its impact when cut scores are used for decision making. They identify the testing standards in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education, 2014) that speak to the issues raised by the Flynn effect. They conclude with a series of research recommendations to better understand the Flynn effect and its recent reversal in some contexts. Given the concerns being raised in the media about overtesting of schoolchildren, the negative views of standardized tests that some people hold, and the apparent failure of many in the public sphere to see any benefits to testing, these issues take on greater significance and should be scrutinized.

Keywords: fairness; Flynn effect; group differences; use of cut-off scores; educational testing

Publisher: American Educational Research Association
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