Variation of scores in language achievement tests according to gender, item format and skill areas
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Please cite this item using this persistent URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/11693/15265
Students are assessed to collect information on their language ability or achievement. Some other factors as well as the proficiency level of a student may play a role in their language achievement scores. Gender, item format and skill areas are the factors that may cause variation in the scores, hence affecting the decisions made through these scores. However, there has not been a study that reveals if achievement scores of language learners vary depending on gender, item format or skill areas or the interaction among these factors. This study investigated how language learners scores in language achievement tests vary according to gender, item format (matching, fill in the blanks, find the correct form, multiple choice, open ended, and paragraph writing) and skill areas (reading, writing, listening, grammar, and vocabulary); and whether the male and females’ scores vary according to item format and skill areas. The research was conducted at T.C. Kadir Has University Preparatory School, Istanbul, Turkey. The second achievement test of the second module administered to 303 pre-intermediate level students from different majors was analyzed. The statistical analysis of data revealed that gender does not have a significant effect on the total scores of the students in language achievement tests. On the other hand, students’ total scores vary significantly depending on both the item format and skill areas in the test. In other words, it makes a difference which item format or skill area is used in a test because students’ scores change according to the type of the item form and skill areas. Males’ and females’ mean scores also show differences depending on both item format and skill areas. According to the findings, females outperform males significantly in two item formats; ‘find the correct form’ and ‘paragraph writing’ questions, whereas males do not show any superiority in any item format. Also, in skill areas, females outperform males in three skill areas; ‘writing,’ ‘grammar’ and ‘vocabulary’ while males score higher only in one skill area; ‘listening.’ This study contributed to the existing literature by having studied gender differences. With results both confirming and contradicting the previous research, the present study has a unique place in the language testing literature by looking at the variation of scores according to three variables; gender, item format and skill areas, that have been studied together for the first time, and comparing males’ and females’ scores in terms of item format and skill areas again for the first time. The wide spectrum adopted while evaluating the differences in the results, and speculations made about these differences can benefit both future researchers in the field in terms of theoretical perspectives, and teachers and administrator in terms of practical perspectives.