High-Stakes Testing in Higher Education and Employment: Appraising the Evidence for Validity and Fairness

Paul R. Sackett, Matthew J. Borneman, Brian S. Connelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors review criticisms commonly leveled against cognitively loaded tests used for employment and higher education admissions decisions, with a focus on large-scale databases and meta-analytic evidence. They conclude that (a) tests of developed abilities are generally valid for their intended uses in predicting a wide variety of aspects of short-term and long-term academic and job performance, (b) validity is not an artifact of socioeconomic status, (c) coaching is not a major determinant of test performance, (d) tests do not generally exhibit bias by underpredicting the performance of minority group members, and (e) test-taking motivational mechanisms are not major determinants of test performance in these high-stakes settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2008


  • admissions testing
  • employment testing
  • selection
  • validity

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