Gender differences in Norwegian PIRLS 2016 and ePIRLS 2016 results at test mode, text and item format level

  • Katrin Schulz-Heidorf University of Hamburg
  • Hildegunn Støle The National Reading Centre, University of Stavanger

Abstract

Gender differences in reading are a common finding in international assessments with girls usually outperforming boys. This article investigates such gender differences by looking at test modes
(paper-based versus digital assessments), reading purpose (literary versus informational), text features (associations between reading scores and how much students like a text) and item format
characteristics (multiple choice versus constructed response items). All analyses are based on data
of Norwegian fifth-grade students (n = 3610) from the most recent cycle of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Survey (PIRLS and ePIRLS) 2016. The results point towards a general
mode effect between the paper-based and digital assessment for constructed response items. This
effect seems to be less strong in boys, indicating that boys may be motivated to type responses on a
keyboard as opposed to writing with a pen on paper. For text features, we found that boys might be
disengaged from reading when the text shows female characteristics such as a female protagonist,
leading to boys’ lack of interest and, subsequently, to lower scores. The results are discussed in the
light of the test design of PIRLS and ePIRLS.

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Published
2018-12-30
How to Cite
Schulz-Heidorf, K., & Støle, H. (2018). Gender differences in Norwegian PIRLS 2016 and ePIRLS 2016 results at test mode, text and item format level. Nordic Journal of Literacy Research, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.23865/njlr.v4.1270
Section
Original Research Articles
Keywords
digital assessment, paper-based assessment, reading achievement, mode effect, school