Monday, 5 September 2016

Bias in grading: A meta-analysis of experimental research findings


Bias in grading: A meta-analysis of experimental research findings


This article provides a meta-analysis of experimental research findings on the existence of bias in subjective grading of student work such as essay writing. Twenty-three analyses, from 20 studies, with a total of 1935 graders, met the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. All studies involved graders being exposed to a specific type of information about a student other than the student’s performance on a task. The hypothesized biasing characteristics included different race/ethnic backgrounds, education-related deficiencies, physical unattractiveness and poor quality of prior performance. The statistically significant overall between-groups effect size was g = 0.36. Moderator analyses showed no significant difference in effect size related to whether the work graded was from a primary school student or a university student. No one type of biasing characteristic showed a significantly higher effect size than other types. The results suggest that bias can occur in subjective grading when graders are aware of irrelevant information about the students.


Covered in 

The Age and Daily Mail (Australia)

Cook, H. (2016, September 1). The 'halo effect' that helps beautiful students get better marks. The Age.


Malouff, J. M., & Thorsteinsson, E. B. (2016). Bias in grading: A meta-analysis of experimental research findings. Australian Journal of Education, 60, 245-256. doi:10.1177/0004944116664618

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