Addressing Criticisms of Existing Predictive Bias Research: Cognitive Ability Test Scores Still Overpredict African Americans’ Job Performance

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Abstract

Predictive bias studies have generally suggested that cognitive ability test scores overpredict job performance of African Americans, meaning these tests are not predictively biased against African Americans. However, at least 2 issues call into question existing over-/underprediction evidence: (a) a bias identified by Aguinis, Culpepper, and Pierce (2010) in the intercept test typically used to assess over-/underprediction and (b) a focus on the level of observed validity instead of operational validity. The present study developed and utilized a method of assessing over-/underprediction that draws on the math of subgroup regression intercept differences, does not rely on the biased intercept test, allows for analysis at the level of operational validity, and can use meta-analytic estimates as input values. Therefore, existing meta-analytic estimates of key parameters, corrected for relevant statistical artifacts, were used to determine whether African American job performance remains overpredicted at the level of operational validity. African American job performance was typically overpredicted by cognitive ability tests across levels of job complexity and across conditions wherein African American and White regression slopes did and did not differ. Because the present study does not rely on the biased intercept test and because appropriate statistical artifact corrections were carried out, the present study's results are not affected by the 2 issues mentioned above. The present study represents strong evidence that cognitive ability tests generally overpredict job performance of African Americans.

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