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How to be an ACT Fairness Reviewer: An Educator’s Guide

ACT takes great care in ensuring that the ACT test is fair to all students. All questions go through a thorough internal and external review process, and we systematically study test results across demographics and geographies to guard against any questions that might be biased against a particular group of students.


Learn about the role of an ACT fairness reviewer (and why you should apply to become a content and fairness reviewer) from ACT fairness reviewer, Claudia I Rodriguez.

What does a fairness reviewer do?


Let’s begin with stating the obvious: a fairness reviewer reviews exams for fairness. But the role is so much more than that! As fairness reviewers, we have a unique responsibility to high school students around the world. The opportunity for higher education should be a right for every student with interest in attending university. This opportunity should not be hindered by an unfair exam. Inherently biased exams hurt the very students who would benefit the most from education. Thus, we examine test questions and answers to make certain that the exam is as impartial as possible. As a fairness reviewer, I have the unique responsibility to make the dream of higher education attainable.

Why did you decide to become a fairness reviewer for ACT?


I am a first-generation American, I did not learn English until fourth grade, and was raised by a single mother. Statistically, I should not be in academia. I was, however, incredibly fortunate to have attended a magnet high school where attending college was seen as the logical path to take after high school. I was afforded an excellent education and was actively encouraged to continue to university. It was not until I reached university that I realized the privilege I had in high school was not always available to students in a similar demographic to mine. I would like other students to have the opportunities I was offered. For me, this means ensuring that the ACT is as fair as possible to all students. The ACT can meet the needs of all students and I hope I can affect some changes.

Why should educators become fairness reviewers?


Educators are custom-made fairness reviewers. We have the advantage of working with students and observing their strengths and weaknesses. As our work with students continues, our knowledge of what is fair or unfair becomes innate. Moreover, those of us who work in higher education witness the difference an education can make in a student’s life. It is a great incentive to continue our work.

What’s important for educators to know about your role?


I think educators should know that the role of fairness reviewer is one of the most important roles they can undertake. I am helping many more students than I could have ever imagined. It is an awesome feeling to know that my work is making a huge difference in students’ lives. The work is not always easy, but it is rewarding. And an added incentive? I have learned a lot from the passages I have read. It’s really fun!

How do you help people achieve education and workplace success?


I was fortunate to have had amazing professors throughout college. I have no doubt that, without the aid of my remarkable professors, I would not have had the success I had at university. I have made it my life’s work to help students just as I was helped. I want my students to be successful. I have borrowed a lot from a TED talk given by the brilliant Valorie Kondos Field and her definition of success: “Real success is developing champions in life, not for your team, not for your business and, I'm sad to tell you, not even for your Christmas card bragging rights.” In this vein: I want my students’ success to spread beyond college and into their professional lives. I strive to provide them with the tools needed to accomplish their dreams and to become better people. My goal is for my students to leave me as whole individuals, confident in their abilities. In my role as educator and supervisor, I act as the students’ biggest cheerleader. I am so proud of my babies and their accomplishments!

How do you fight for fairness in education?


I am a part-time instructor at a school that prides itself in providing first-generation students with the opportunity to have a proper university education. It is crucial to ensure that the faculty and staff provide a fair education. When planning my classes, I take into consideration that many students may not have had the same opportunities privileged students had in their early education. I offer my phone number and encourage students to text me if they have any questions about the day’s lecture. I also take care to remind my students to ask for clarification if they ever feel lost during lecture. It is not an easy message to transmit: some students are afraid to ask questions as they feel they will face ridicule. Within a few weeks, I have students texting me questions and even asking me for advice. Students continue to text me and I am happy to help in any way I can. My message is clear: I want my students to leave my class with an excellent grasp of the class objectives and the best way to do it is to ensure unbiased lessons and an engaging class.

We’re currently recruiting content and fairness reviewers for the ACT test (specifically for Reading and English). Interested in supporting the development of a fair and equitable test? Apply to be a content and fairness reviewer.

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