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Racial and Gender Inequities Found in Field of Educational Measurement


Racial and gender inequities still plague the field of educational measurement, from professional rank to salary, across academia, industry, and leadership roles.

Those are the findings of a new report supported by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), and Women in Measurement (WIM). These organizations provide membership and community for qualitative and quantitative researchers, and WIM focuses on improving gender and racial equity within the field.

Dr. Susan Lyons, executive director of WIM.Dr. Susan Lyons, executive director of WIM.The report surveyed over 1,300 members of the three organizations, and found that nearly 13% of respondents experienced some kind of discrimination within the last 12 months that had a negative impact on their professional growth. Women of color were the most effected, and the overwhelming majority of those discriminatory instances were not reported to management.

“Our community members regularly share the challenges they have faced,” said Dr. Susan Lyons, executive director of WIM and one of the report's authors. “This study, for us, was about seeking to understand the scale of the gender and race issues we face as a field and to document the disparities we see as baseline data to help track our progress towards more equitable work environments over time.”

The assessment, said Lyons, highlights the “tangible differences” of salaries and positions, finding that white men receive the highest salaries and occupy the most senior positions. The report also studied how diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and anti-discrimination is perceived in the workplace.

“When we see large disparities across racial and gender groups in how likely people are to agree to statements like ‘my workplace treats all employees fairly,’ we reveal not only that some people are being treated unfairly, but we reveal that there is a large proportion of people that simply do not see that some are being treated unfairly,” said Lyons.

The authors of the report have several recommendations for changes that would improve equity, including employer self-audits of the salaries of their staff, the public creation of DEI strategic plans, investment in anti-bias training, a transparent communication of how DEI goals will be enacted, and gathering feedback from employees.

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