Nature And Nurture

Part of the emotion surrounding the test bias controversy stems from its association in the human mind with the troubling notion of innate, genetic inferiority. Given real differences, however, a genetic explanation is by no means inevitable. Absence of bias opens up the possibility of environmental causes, as well, and explanations span the sociopolitical spectrum. Discrimination; economic disadvantage; exclusion from educational opportunity, personal development, social support, practical information, and achievement-oriented values—all become possible causes, if differences are real.

All sides of the nature-nurture debate depend on the existence of real differences. Therefore, the debate must eventually prove irresolvable unless the test bias question is somehow answered. The reverse, however, is not true. Test bias research can continue indefinitely with the nature-nurture question unresolved. Psychometricians are attempting to disentangle the nature-nurture debate from the empirical investigation of test bias, but the separation is unlikely to be a neat one (Reynolds , Lowe, et al., 1999).

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