Linking Mathematics TIMSS Achievement with National Examination Scores and School Marks: Unexpected Gender Differences in Slovenia

Barbara Japelj Pavešić, Gašper Cankar


zveřejněno 25.01.2019 
klíčová slova: TIMSS; mathematics; school grades; national examination; gender difference

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  • In the article, we present the results of the Slovene national study of three different assessments of mathematics for students in Grade 8 and Grade 13: the independent TIMSS or TIMSS Advanced outcomes, the national external examination scores and internal teacher’s marks. Grade 8 students who participated in TIMSS also took the national assessment (NA) one year after TIMSS assessment; TIMSS Advanced math students took the Matura examination from mathematics two months after the TIMSS Advanced assessments. The data on school marks from mathematics were collected with the nationally added questions to the international TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced questionnaires for students, together with the series of questions about the effort put into solving the test. One year later, the outcomes from TIMSS assessment, national examinations (Grade 9 and Grade 13) and school grades for each student were linked and the differences between boys and girls, attitudes toward mathematics and plans for future education were analysed. It was found that gender differences at scores from national exams as well as in school marks differ from gender differences in TIMSS and TIMSS Advanced achievement (i.e. Grade 13 students’ Matura results are slightly in favour of girls while TIMSS Advanced show better achievement for boys). Comparison of three outcomes reveal some characteristics of both national examinations and teachers’ marking not evident otherwise. Matura gives to the most able students proportionally less opportunity to demonstrate the highest cognitive level of knowledge. Boys who demonstrated the same knowledge in TIMSS as girls get lower national marks as girls, in exams and by teachers. Girls put less effort than boys in solving the TIMSS test which could help to explain the changing gender gap from TIMSS to the national examinations. In Grade 8, the marks and TIMSS scores also show inconsistencies on student level. They are differently associated with attitudes toward mathematics which can provide some ideas for improvement of low motivation for learning mathematics in Slovenia.

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