Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Detecting Gender Bias Through Test Item Analysis

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Many physical science and physics instructors might not be trained in pedagogically appropriate test construction methods. This could lead to test items that do not measure what they are intended to measure. A subgroup of these items might show bias against some groups of students. This paper describes how the author became aware of potentially biased items against females in his examinations, which led to the exploration of fundamental issues related to item validity, gender bias, and differential item functioning, or DIF. A brief discussion of DIF in the context of university courses, as well as practical suggestions to detect possible gender biased items, follows.