Contrary findings notwithstanding, many psychological professionals continue to assert that White examiners impede the test performance of minority group members (Sattler, 1988). Sattler and Gwynne (1982) reviewed 27 published studies on the effects of examiners' race on the test scores of children and youth on a wide range of cognitive tests. Participants were students in preschool through Grade 12, most from urban areas throughout the United States. Tests included the Wechsler Scales; the Stanford-Binet, Form L-M; the PPVT; the Draw-a-Man Test; the Iowa Test of Preschool Development; and others. In 23 of these studies, examiner's race (Black or White) and test scores of racial groups (Black or White) had no statistically significant association. Sattler and Gwynne reported that the remaining 4 studies had methodological limitations, including inappropriate statistical tests and designs. Design limitations included lack of a comparison group and of external criteria to evaluate the validity of procedures used.
The question of possible examiner-examinee effects has taken numerous forms. Minority examinees might obtain reduced scores because of their responses to examiner-examinee differences. An examiner of a different race, for example, might evoke anxiety or fear in minority children. Research has lent little support to this possibility. Kaufman
(1994), for example, found that Black populations obtained their highest scores on tests most sensitive to anxiety.
White examiners may be less effective than Hispanic American examiners when testing Hispanic American children and adolescents. This proposal, too, has received little support. Gerkin (1978) found that examiner's ethnicity (White or Hispanic American) and examiner's bilingual ability (monolingual or bilingual) had no statistically significant association with the WPPSI IQs or the Leiter International Performance Scale scores of children aged 4, 5, and 6 years. Morales and George (1976) found that Hispanic bilingual children in Grades 1-3 obtained higher WISC-R scores with monolingual non-Hispanic examiners than with bilingual Hispanic examiners, who tested the children in both Spanish and English (Sattler, 1988; Reynolds, Lowe, etal., 1999).
These findings suggest that examiner ethnicity has little adverse effect on minority scores. Examiners need to be well trained and competent, however, in administering standardized tests to diverse minority group members. Rapport may be especially crucial for minority examinees, and approaches that are effective with one ethnic group may be less so with another. As usual, research in this area should continue. Neither researchers nor clinicians can assume that the results reviewed above typify all future results.
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