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Does a balanced test form regarding selected-response and constructed-response items overcome gender gap in test scores? An analysis of the format-gender relation in the test of economic-civic competence


Ackermann, Nicole; Siegfried, Christin (2019). Does a balanced test form regarding selected-response and constructed-response items overcome gender gap in test scores? An analysis of the format-gender relation in the test of economic-civic competence. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education (Online), 18(3):158-176.

Abstract

Studies indicate that male students outperform female students in economic literacy and that a specific item format (selected-response, constructed-response) favours either males or females. This study analyses the relationship between item format and gender in economic-civic competence using the WBK-T2 test (“revidierter Test zur wirtschaftsbürgerlichen Kompetenz”). The WBK-T2 encompasses 32 items, of which 53% have a selected-response format and 47% a constructed-response format. To answer the research questions, we used a sample of 375 Swiss high school students and ran T-tests and multiple regression analyses. Male students significantly outperformed female students in the overall test score, in the selected-response test score and in the constructed-response test score, but effect sizes are rather small. Interest in socio-economic issues predicted but did not moderate the test scores; however, prior knowledge in economics did. Our results indicate that the balanced test form of the WBK-T2 regarding selected-response and constructed-response items does overcome the gender gap in overall test scores and format-related test scores for students with prior economic knowledge. However, this does not apply for students without prior knowledge in economics. Thus, there must be other test-external variables, such as prior knowledge in economics that cause the gender gap in economic-civic competence.

Abstract

Studies indicate that male students outperform female students in economic literacy and that a specific item format (selected-response, constructed-response) favours either males or females. This study analyses the relationship between item format and gender in economic-civic competence using the WBK-T2 test (“revidierter Test zur wirtschaftsbürgerlichen Kompetenz”). The WBK-T2 encompasses 32 items, of which 53% have a selected-response format and 47% a constructed-response format. To answer the research questions, we used a sample of 375 Swiss high school students and ran T-tests and multiple regression analyses. Male students significantly outperformed female students in the overall test score, in the selected-response test score and in the constructed-response test score, but effect sizes are rather small. Interest in socio-economic issues predicted but did not moderate the test scores; however, prior knowledge in economics did. Our results indicate that the balanced test form of the WBK-T2 regarding selected-response and constructed-response items does overcome the gender gap in overall test scores and format-related test scores for students with prior economic knowledge. However, this does not apply for students without prior knowledge in economics. Thus, there must be other test-external variables, such as prior knowledge in economics that cause the gender gap in economic-civic competence.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Education
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Uncontrolled Keywords:General economics, econometrics and finance, sociology and political Science, education
Language:English
Date:16 December 2019
Deposited On:22 Jan 2020 14:33
Last Modified:17 Mar 2020 16:06
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:2047-1734
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2047173419892531

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