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Supplement to Gender and Fair Assessment

Willingham, Warren W.; Johnson, Linda M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Academic Achievement, Performance Factors, Sex Differences, Gender, Test Bias


This volume provides supplementary material for "Gender and Fair Assessment" by Warren W. Willingham and Nancy S. Cole, which was published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates in spring 1997. The parent volume and this supplement report the results of a project that was undertaken with two objectives: 1) to review recent research and new data in order to help clarify patterns of gender difference and similarity in test performance and related educational achievements, and 2) to determine what implications those findings might have for fair assessment. This supplement contains two special reports and several types of technical information. The main goal of the gender and fair assessment project was to understand the ways in which achievements of women and men are different and similar. Another topic of great interest, much of which extends beyond the scope of this work is how such differences come about. The project did examine a number of factors associated with gender differences-- particularly those factors that are likely to have implications for fair assessment. In addition, two special studies were carried out concerning other antecedents of gender difference. Reports of those two studies are included here. One was a review of research literature by Gita Wilder on "Antecedents of Gender Differences." This review discusses social, educational, and biological factors that may help to explain gender difference and similarity. The second report describes a technical study by Charles Lewis and Warren Willingham on "The Effects of Sample Restriction on Gender Differences." This work examined the purely statistical effects that often alter the observed pattern of female and male test performance when scores are based on a select sample of high scorers, which is usually the case with more advanced tests. Several other types of useful information and technical details are included here because they are likely to be of interest to a limited group of readers. These include some supplementary tables, the more technical notes, descriptions of test batteries on which the data in Chapter 3 were based, and bibliographies on topics of special interest. (200pp.)

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