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Observed Score Differences between Whites and African-Americans

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), African-Americans comprise about 13.2% of the US population, making them the third largest racial-ethnic group in the country after Whites and Hispanics/Latinos (until recently, they were the second largest racial- ethnic group). This group has historically been at the centre of the discussion on mean score differences in high-stakes assessment contexts (e.g., Bobko & Roth, 2013; Cottrell, Newman & Roisman, 2015; Herrnstein & Murray, 1994; Hough et al., 2001; Jensen, 1985, 2000; Neisser et al., 1996; Nisbett et al., 2012; Ployhart & Holtz, 2008; Roth et al., 2001). There are several reasons for the distinct focus on this group. For example, African-Americans played a central role in the Civil Rights Movement, the subsequent passing of the Civil Rights Act 1964 and Title VII, and various landmark Supreme Court cases such as Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971), which was heard after this critical piece of legislation was enacted (Aiken, Salmon & Hanges, 2013). Moreover, this group is typically the most disadvantaged relative to other groups in the US in terms of the magnitude of standardized group mean score differences with Whites (Bobko & Roth, 2013; Hough et al., 2001; Roth et al., 2001). A host of primary studies has been conducted to explore, quantify and understand these differences. Given the abundance of primary studies, we focus on the most recent meta-analyses and narrative reviews in the following subsections.

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