Hidden Figures Systemic Racism and the Possible Effects of Sampling Bias in LargeScale Education Data Sets

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ElizabethAnn S. Kelly


Significant influence over national educational systems and educational policies is exerted by large-scale international studies of education such as the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA). The impact of these influences on educational systems and student achievement is evidenced by the changes in patterns of cross-national and cross-cultural disparities in educational achievement over iterations of the test. This paper examines the import of national educational policymaker actions and potential sample bias of these tests through the lens of racism and educational inequities. Despite a data gap, national policy makers implement changes in educational policies and practices based on results from these large-scale studies and so fail to take into account the differing contexts students, especially minority cohorts, experience within education settings. Additionally, some specific examples of practices to exclude specific student cohorts from test participation are presented.

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Author Biography

ElizabethAnn S. Kelly

Dr. ElizabethAnn Kelly is an associated researcher in the Dept. of Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany. She specializes in studying equity in education through the use of largescale datasets and multilevel modeling.