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Whenever a psychometric standard is employed in various cultural backgrounds, to evaluate test candidates from various cultural settings, it is referred to as cross-cultural testing. Examples of constructs to be measured are romantic attachment style, self-esteem or memory. The demand for a variety of language interpretations of tests, surveys and questionnaire is constantly growing. Because of this, most of the tests are adjusted from one language of a given culture to another language. The control of culture on evaluating particular psychological concepts calls for exploration to easily alter measurements to ensure them significant to the specific culture as well as obtain correspondent measures throughout cultures. In this term paper, challenges and issues concerning cross-cultural testing are discussed into detail. The constructs of test equivalence and test bias, test translation procedures are presented, and the issues of comparing between test scores of various cultural masses.
Cross-cultural psychology can be defined as the systematic study of the mental process and behavior of man, taking into consideration their variability and invariability, within varied cultural circumstances. The objective of cross cultural psychology is to comprehend the relationship linking man's behavior as well as the cultural settings from which it bases. The research in cross-cultural psychology can generate significant information on various topics of concern to psychologists. For instance, studies in cross-cultural psychology have found that the signs and symptoms of various psychological disorders fluctuate from culture to culture, and have resulted to a second thought on what makes up typical human sexuality (Adler, 1977).
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Cross-cultural testing is the process by which comparisons are made between test candidates from varied cultural backgrounds, for example, a measure of intelligence or personality in different cultural settings. In this case there is a need for various language interpretations of tests, surveys and questionnaires. Consequently, several tests are adjusted from one culture and language to another. The effect of culture on evaluating particular psychological concept calls for exploration for easier adjustment of measurements to make them significant to the specific culture as well as obtain equivalent measures through the culture. There are many issues to ensure cultural sensitivity in psychological testing, some of which include language barriers, culture-reduced tests or culture-fair tests, fair discrimination versus adverse discrimination, test content, and timed testing (Ferraro, 2002).
Among the most common issues in cross-cultural testing is language. If a given test is written in French language then there is no expectation of it producing a reasoned measure of the same concept in an English population. Provided that both French and English candidates are given equivalent starting point in working through the test, then the test should be adjusted and made accessible in the local language of a given group which in this case is English. The varied versions of a given test should be correspondent. Being correspondent means more than just translating between the languages since the content of a test has to be retained and preserved (Adler, 1977).
The manner, in which studies are to be carried through, has a significant consideration. According to the Western psychologists' conception about the studies, premises are fallaciously made concerning the foreign culture's capability to comprehend and translate the language used, and to get the picture of the constructs essential to the study. Statements or ideas can be interpreted in a number of ways which are referred to as equivalences. The translation equivalence is clear given that there are no phrases or words in the alien language to put across the constructs that are expressed in the master language. Reliability of a given translation can be tested by use of a method referred to as back-translation in which an individual transforms the original language into the alien language, and another individual transforms back the foreign lanuage into the original language. Through the comparisons between the original and the resultant translations, the researcher is capable of seeing if there is a possibility of expressing the concepts in some other language, and the reliability of the first interpretation can be estimated by the correspondence between master versions and the resultant versions (Pedersen, 2002).
According to Ferraro (2002), a culture-fair test is a test that is planned to be far from of cultural bias, as much as possible, ensuring that there is no even one culture that will take advantage over the other. The culture-fair test is planned in such away that it won't be acted upon by culture climate, educational level, and even verbal ability. This kind of a test is intended to do away with any cultural merits, or demerits, that an individual in any given society may possess depending on how they were brought up. Culture-fair test can be used for any individual irrespective the nation from which they come or their spoken language. The culture-reduced test is as well very significant it may help one to identify learning or the emotional tribulations. The length of time that a given test can be used to collect data varies from one another depending on the individual subjects of tests accessible, but they spend roughly 12 to 18 minutes for every section. A typical test holds two to four sections.
An instance of a place where this culture-reduced test finds its use is in a large company. This type of a test is usually administered by employers so that to find out the most suitable location for freshly recruited employees in a given large company. Culture-fair tests are available in wide range and this gives way for an administrator to decide on the area which is most significant, whether it constitutes knowledge of a particular area, emotional stability, or general intelligence. Still there exists doubt concerning the possibility of any test to be sincerely culturally unbiased as well as the possibility for the test to be made absolutely fair to all individuals irrespective of the culture that belongs to either part (Adler, 1977).
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Intelligence can be used as a psychological trait to base the argument about the doubt in cultural fairness the culture-fair test will bring about. The Culture Fair Intelligence test asserts to be away from cultural pressure. Indubitably, its consistency and soundness has strong proof, however, the notion of cultural fairness is not yet proven. For the best one can classify this among the most excellent non-verbal intelligence tests that have tried to reduce the cultural influences on the effects. Instead, the existing proof and recurrent researches have proven it to be greatly culturally biased just like the rest of intelligence tests. Each and every intelligence test is built on the model that people recognize and can perform at a particular moment and place (Vernon, 1969).
According to Adler (1977), many researches provide evidence that culture fair IQ test does not treat individuals from various cultures fairly. L.S. Willard conducted one of the finest studies in the year1968. L.S. Willard took a 97 subject sample from African Americans and used Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT) and Stanford Binet Scale to test them. In this case 14 and more examinees failed with the culture fair intelligence test as they were among the most excellent through Stanford Binet scale.
The content of any test that is employed for cross-cultural psychological testing must be valid and must not be biased. This means that the content used must be clear and must be comprehended by the individuals to whom it is applied; the test used should not favor individuals from either culture.
So that to consider establishing validity of the content, the sufficiency of the sampling of the knowledge base, is very important and must be engaged. To set up equivalent content validity within two forms of a given measure, using a different language in each of the two forms for the varied cultural groups, at first one must determine whether the domain of the content is the same or it varies through the cases. It also mandatory to establish that sampling of the domain is done with comparable representativeness within all given cases (Samuda, 1998).
There is a possibility of all these determinations to be problematic. For instance, if the transformation of a fourth-grade chemistry test set for those students attending school 10 months of a year in the country of origin, is set for the students attending school 8 months of a year in the target country, then the two domains of chemistry learned in the fourth-year of school education are expected to overlap, and not indistinguishable, since the students from the country of origin previously attended the school's three longer years preceding this fourth-year, it is likely that they should begin a more advanced course. In addition, provided that the year of schooling in the country of origin is longer, they are expected to cover a substantial content for any given academic year. In brief terms, the domains used are not expected to be indistinguishable and as well the domains' representativeness must be looked at (Weiner, 2003).
Bias is among the preferred topics of the individuals who criticize the application of standardized tests by means of minorities. As the effort in cultural test started, bias was focused on content. In general, evaluators assess the test items and consider particular items to be biased. The test items may be biased if they request for information that a disadvantaged individual from a particular culture has not gained equal chance to learn, if the item's scoring is improper because the author of the test has illogically made a decision on the exclusively approved answers hence the ethnic minorities are unsuitably penalized for providing answers which would be right within their culture and not within the culture of the author , and if the process of processing the questions is extraordinary hence an ethnic minority capable of knowing the right answer may not be at a position to reply since they don't comprehend the question (Hersen, 2004).
The above related criticisms have the same fundamental practical outcome: the item turns difficulty to a greater extent for the population experiencing ethnic minority than for the popular people; for instance, an individual from the majority culture and one from an ethnic minority culture having similar standing on the concept dealt with will provide different answers to the items which are biased. These properties can be referred to as irrelevant difficulties. So that the item reliability is attained, test developers are now and then working to do away with the irrelevant difficulties from all angles.
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This is the type of discrimination that is usually based on the underlying demand for the particular activity, for instance, demand for a job. The underlying prerequisite of a career activity hinges upon the type of the activity and compulsory qualifications. On condition that the requirements can be depicted, then discrimination will automatically be fair, for instance a person possessing very poor eyesight indubitably cannot secure the position of an airline pilot (Ferraro, 2002).
The timed tests are the type of tests that are used when quick responses are required irrespective of the quality and depth of processing. In this case a lower grade may distinguish the variation in speed of processing a given language and not the real measure of the assessed task. Incase the language that is used in a test differs from the subject's language then it becomes more difficulty for individuals to respond, they can take long without giving the required response. For instance, in a comparison of the numeral sign task with thirty pre-epilepsy and post-epilepsy patients of surgery, an English task demanded considerably more as compared to the task that is represented in numbers interpreted into Arabic numbers to patients from Saudi Arabia with uncontrollable tumor or epilepsy (Olsen, 2004).
People in America are familiar with the timed tests even from the start of elementary school. They perceive that being faster is better. On the other hand, people from Russia have a different perception on the construct of time. According to Russians the tests should involve excellent quality and a considerable depth of processing. Hence, the speed of performance is not usually regarded by most. Neuropsychological testing also takes this pattern into consideration.
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