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Volume 21Number 2 publication date:Sep. 2008
Gender Differences and Differential Item Functioning in Mathematics Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students
    Author:Sheue-Mei Lu & Kuo-Nan Mao
Research Article


This research investigated gender differences and differential item functioning (DIF) on Mathematics parts of the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students (BCTEST) from its 2001 to 2005 administrations. Data for each administration were a sample of 5000 examinees randomly drawn from its examinee population. In the study of gender differences, we calculated and compared the effect size, female/male standard deviation ratio and female/male ratio for total-group, low- achieving (bottom 10%) and high-achieving groups (top 10%) across test administrations. Results based on overall performances indicated that there were no visible gender differences among total groups and low-achieving groups. However, males performed slightly better than females amongst high-achieving groups. Results based on performance of math contents and processes indicated that there were no visible gender effect sizes among total, low-achieving and high-achieving groups with only a few exceptions. The exceptions were that males performed slightly better on problem solving among total groups and on geometry among high-achieving groups. In the study of gender DIF, Mantel-Haenszel procedure was used. And results showed that the average percentage of items displaying gender DIF across administrations were low, at about 2.5%. There appeared associations of gender DIF with item characteristics, DIF in favor of females on algebraic items, and DIF in favor of males on geometry and problem solving items.

Keywords: Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students, gender differences in mathematics, gender DIF in mathematics

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