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Sex differences in objective test performance

By Roger Murphy


The choice of techniques used in making educational assessments may have a crucial influence on the relative performance of various groups of individuals. It has, for example, been suggested that males may obtain better results when objective (multiple-choice) tests are employed rather than other methods of assessment. This particular possibility is explored in relation to a selection of 16 GCE examinations, which were selected for the investigation because they all included both objective tests and other methods of assessment in their overall schemes of assessment.

The results from the majority of these examinations supported the hypothesis that males perform better, in relation to females, on objective tests than they do on other forms of assessment. The influence of different levels of written language skills on the performance of males and females on certain non-objective forms of assessment is put forward as a possible explanation for these results. The implications of the findings for those wanting to avoid bias, when constructing schemes of assessment, are also discussed.


How to cite

Murphy, R. (1982). Sex differences in objective test performance, British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 52 Iss. 2.


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