Ramona Lorenz

Does gender make a difference?

Gender-Related fairness of high-stakes testing in A-level examinations in English as foreign language in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the context of Educational Governance

Shortlink: https://www.waxmann.com/artikelART102865

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Abstract

The shift from decentralized to centralized A-level examinations (Abitur) was implemented in the German school system as a measure of Educational Governance in the last decade. This reform was mainly introduced with the intention of providing higher comparability of school examinations and student achievement as well as increasing fairness in school examinations. It is not known yet if these ambitious aims and functions of the new centralized examination format have been achieved and if fairer assessment can be guaranteed in terms of providing all students with the same opportunities to pass the examinations by allocating fair tests to different student subpopulations e.g., students of different background or gender. The research presented in this article deals with these questions and focuses on gender differences. It investigates gender-specific fairness of the test items in centralized Abitur examinations as high school exit examinations in Germany. The data are drawn from Abitur examinations in English (as a foreign language). Differential item functioning (DIF) analysis reveals that at least some parts of the examinations indicate gender inequality.

Keywords
Educational Governance; High-Stakes testing; Centralized A-level examinations (Abitur); Gender; Differential item functioning (DIF)