Investigating Differences between Genders in an English Entrance Test in a Public University
Keywords:DIF, entrance test, gender, Rasch
English entrance test is designed to select candidates to join English programmes that are offered in public universities. Many entrance test instruments have been developed to serve that purpose but there are quite a number of instruments which are developed by the lecturers are left without further investigation on how the instruments work to all the test-takers. This research analysed reading, vocabulary and grammar instrument that has been used in a public university in Malaysia as the entrance test for its English programme. The paper consists of 30 multiple-choice questions (10 questions for each section) and was administered to selected candidates who scored a minimum B+ grade in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination. This research aimed to identify the reliability of the instrument, how each gender interacted with each of the items based on the comparison of the facility indices, to identify the DIF items and finally to classify them based on CEFR, Bloom’s taxonomy and grammar topic. Based on the analysis with Winsteps, this research found that the reliability of the instrument is very good (.98), female test-takers are better when it comes to higher vocabularies in CEFR, male candidates perform better than female counterparts when it comes to preposition and tenses, female candidates perform well when it comes to higher rank of items based on Bloom’s taxonomy, and there are three items flagged as showing DIF. This research concluded that, the instrument requires further improvements even though the reliability index is high. Some item which were flagged as showing DIF need to be reviewed and either be replaced or re-write.
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