Examining gender effects in different types of undergraduate science assessment

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Title: Examining gender effects in different types of undergraduate science assessment
Authors: Kacprzyk, JoannaParsons, Martin E.M.Maguire, Patricia B.Stewart, Gavin
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/12724
Date: 25-Jul-2019
Online since: 2022-01-13T13:32:50Z
Abstract: The optimum assessment structure measures student knowledge accurately and without bias. In this study, the performance of the first-year undergraduate science students from the University College Dublin was evaluated to test the gender equality of the assessment structure in place. Results of male and female students taking three life science modules were analysed, for two academic years, with assessment structure based on a combination of three types of evaluation: continuous assessment and multiple choice questions (MCQ) exam scored with/without negative marking. We found no significant gender effect associated with performance in continuous assessment, or MCQ exams scored without negative marking. However, a significant bias against females was consistently observed for the same cohort of students in the MCQ exams with negative marking of 0.25 points. This bias was at least partially linked to a gender difference in willingness to guess and preliminary data suggest that it disappears after removal of negative marking from the MCQ exams. Our results support the view of a diverse assessment structure being fairer to the students. Moreover, caution is advised while using negative marking, and regular reviews of assessment strategy should be implemented by higher education institutions to ensure gender-bias free evaluation of students’ performance.
Funding Details: European Research Council
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Journal: Irish Educational Studies
Volume: 38
Issue: 4
Start page: 467
End page: 480
Copyright (published version): 2019 Educational Studies Association of Ireland
Keywords: Gender-biasUndergraduate science assessmentNegative markingAchievementPersonalityPerformancePreferenceBiology
DOI: 10.1080/03323315.2019.1645721
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
ISSN: 0332-3315
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:Biology & Environmental Science Research Collection
Biomolecular and Biomedical Science Research Collection

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