A Stanford University study has concluded that a controversial tenth-grade MCAS essay question that many students and teachers derided as racist hurt the performance of a small number of black students, state officials announced Friday, prompting them to take the unusual step of waiving the passing score for a limited number of students
On the second day of a 2019 high-stakes assessment, Massachusetts 10th graders faced a racially insensitive question, which was quickly invalidated. However, a remaining controversy is whether this exposure created a racial bias in performance on the remaining test items. We present results from a pre-registered analysis suggesting the controversial question reduced the comparative performance of Black students by a small amount (approximately 0.006Ϭ). However, we also find a wide dispersion of such effects when examining similarly small sets of test items from prior state assessments that lacked a controversial question which suggests the 2019 assessment was not distinctive.