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ERIC Number: EJ994189
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Identifying Country-Specific Cultures of Physics Education: A Differential Item Functioning Approach
Mesic, Vanes
International Journal of Science Education, v34 n16 p2483-2500 2012
In international large-scale assessments of educational outcomes, student achievement is often represented by unidimensional constructs. This approach allows for drawing general conclusions about country rankings with respect to the given achievement measure, but it typically does not provide specific diagnostic information which is necessary for systematic comparisons and improvements of educational systems. Useful information could be obtained by exploring the differences in national profiles of student achievement between low-achieving and high-achieving countries. In this study, we aimed to identify the relative weaknesses and strengths of eighth graders' physics achievement in Bosnia and Herzegovina in comparison to the achievement of their peers from Slovenia. For this purpose, we ran a secondary analysis of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 data. The student sample consisted of 4,220 students from Bosnia and Herzegovina and 4,043 students from Slovenia. After analysing the cognitive demands of TIMSS 2007 physics items, the correspondent differential item functioning (DIF)/differential group functioning contrasts were estimated. Approximately 40% of items exhibited large DIF contrasts, indicating significant differences between cultures of physics education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. The relative strength of students from Bosnia and Herzegovina showed to be mainly associated with the topic area "Electricity and magnetism". Classes of items which required the knowledge of experimental method, counterintuitive thinking, proportional reasoning and/or the use of complex knowledge structures proved to be differentially easier for students from Slovenia. In the light of the presented results, the common practice of ranking countries with respect to universally established cognitive categories seems to be potentially misleading. (Contains 7 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Slovenia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study