GED Testing Service has full review process for GED test questions to ensure that they are a fair measure of academic knowledge for all students.

During the test development process, each reading passage and test item undergoes multiple reviews for various purposes, to ensure that the test item will be of the highest possible quality in measuring the relevant aspect of academic achievement. One of these reviews is the review by a “Fairness Committee.” The committee is made up of external reviewers (i.e, not employees of GED Testing Service or Pearson) who are experts in identifying and evaluating test items that may contain some aspect that may bias the item against or in favor of some subgroup of test-takers.  Some of the subgroups that are considered for bias are racial or ethnic subgroups, gender, students with disabilities, etc.

Items that are flagged in this process are then revised to eliminate the potential bias issue, or they may be discarded entirely if no revision is possible that would eliminate the bias issue in the view of the expert panel.

Once items are approved as a result of fairness and other reviews, test items are field-tested.  Field testing means that the test items will appear on a test form, but the items do not have any impact on the test-taker’s score.  Field-tested items are typically presented to no less than about 1,000 test-takers, allowing for the collection of data on responses that allow the assessment development team to evaluate a wide variety of item performance characteristics to ensure that the item will be appropriate for an operational test form.

One of the analyses performed as a result of examining field-test data is called “differential item functioning” or DIF.  DIF is a statistical procedure that flags test items that, despite all previous quality and fairness reviews, appear to be generating results in favor of one group and against another.  These flagged items are then subjected to further review which can result in further item revision and re-field-testing or rejecting the item from further use on the test.

Additional information about test development and the review process is available in the GED Technical Manual.

Ann Evers, Sr. Test Product Development and Innovation Research Manager, GED Testing Service