Bias-free assessment

The NeurOlympics is a bias-free assessment. What does that mean?

What is a bias-free assessment?
Bias-free is defined by a lack of prejudices regarding the selection process. Thereby, there should not be (dis)advantages for certain people based on e.g. ethnicity, gender or educational level. Lam (1995) defines a fair assessment by equality and equity. Equality means that people are assessed in the same setting. Equity means that the assessment is tailored to the individual instruction context, so that differences in knowledge, culture, language and interests do not affect the results of the assessment. We offer an equal and equitable assessment by several means.

Partaking in a personalized setting
Firstly, candidates are assessed in similar settings. Since the NeurOlympics games are played online, everyone can decide when and where to partake. All candidates are advised to participate when rested and to sit in a quiet place without distraction. People are thus able to choose a time and area that suits them best. Assuming all candidates act upon this advise, the setting of the assessment is equal for everyone.

Bias-free in many ways: no differences between groups of people
Several aspects contribute to equity. We do not take biased measurements such as gender (zie gender neutral),, age, ethnicity and educational level into account. The result is generated on nothing else than the cognitive scores, leaving no room for subjective impression. And last but not least, cultural differences do not play a role either. First of all because the NeurOlympics have as little language as possible. The games have simple instructions in both Dutch and English and are all preceded by practice rounds. The games itself have no linguistic elements and are therefore free of “language-bias”. Second of all, the measurements we take are of low level cognitive functions, the building blocks of the brain, and are unrelated to culture or verbal skills.

Foreknowledge bias-free!
With our performance games we measure reaction times and performance rates. Facts or difficult problem-solving do not get a chance, thus foreknowledge is not required. Everyone can play the games, and everyone is challenged at his/her own level.

Norm-referenced test
Lastly, an bias-free assessment is more fair when normed-referenced. For calculating (cognitive) assessment scores a norm-group is necessary. This means that the norm-group should hold representative samples of all the tested subgroups.  Everyone in our database who previously participated is used in the norm-group. Thereby, the more candidates who play the NeurOlympics, the broader the norm-group.

Altogether, these aspects assure our assessment is free of bias and every candidate is given an equal chance during the selection process. We aim at better, bias-free hiring!

Lam, T. (1995). Fairness in Performance Assessment. ERIC Digest.