22 SES 14 A, Modeling and Measuring Academic Competencies in Higher Education
Across various domains differences in gender specific responding to standardized test items are frequently detected. Even in assessments of economic knowledge, male participants often score higher than female participants (e. g. Owen, 2012). This recurring finding has stirred controversial discussions. While some researchers suggest that gender differences in economics assessment might be due to the use of standardized testing formats, others believe that gender differences might depend on specific features of economic knowledge (e.g. economic numeracy vs. economic literacy). However, most studies on gender effects in assessments of economic knowledge have focused on secondary education in a specific country (e.g., Yamaoka, Walstad, Watts, Asano & Abe, 2010). Thus, in the present study, we compare gender effects on economic knowledge between Germany, Japan, and the United States. The data was gathered using the standardized U.S. Test of Understanding in College Economics (TUCE, see Walstad & Rebeck, 2007), which was also adapted and used in assessments in Germany (Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, Förster, Brückner & Happ, 2014) and Japan (Yamaoka et al., 2010). In our paper, we start with a brief overview of previous research on gender effects on economic knowledge in Germany, Japan, and the United States as well as potential explanations for gender effects on economic knowledge. Afterwards the assessment instrument and the samples from the three countries will be described and the results from the empirical analyses - based on Item Response Theory (IRT)- will be presented. Moreover, our analyses will also include some results on the differences of gender effects between numeracy and literacy tasks of this test. We close by critically discussing the results and identifying need for further research.
Owen, A. L. (2012). Student characteristics, behavior, and performance in economics classes. In G. M. Hoyt & K. McGoldrick (eds.), International handbook on teaching and learning economics (pp. 341–350). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Walstad, W. B., Watts, M. & Rebeck, K. (2007). Test of understanding in college economics: Examiner's manual (4th ed.). New York NY: National Council on Economic Education. Yamaoka, M., Walstad, W.B., Watts, M.W., Asano, T. & Abe, S. (2010). Comparative Studies on Economic Education in Asia-Pacific Region. Shumpusha Publishing. Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, O., Förster, M., Brückner, S. & Happ, R. (2014). Insights from a German assessment of business and economics competence. In H. Coates (ed.). Higher Education Learning Outcomes Assessment – International Perspectives (pp. 175-197). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
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