Females are known to excel over males in most reading tasks, but notconsistently so in tasks that require processing information from maps,tables, charts and diagrams, so called `Documents'. The IEA ReadingLiteracy data provides possibilities to investigate gender differencesacross countries in such tasks in two age groups, 9-year-olds and14-year-olds. The general question about cultural influences vs. aninvariant pattern of gender differences is of great interest for genderresearch, and central in this study. The aim of the paper is to describeand analyze gender differences on Document tasks, and investigate if andhow the pattern of differences varies over countries. Another aim is todemonstrate the power of using a multivariate analysis technique bycontrasting it against traditional univariate approaches. The univariateanalysis indicates female advantage as the most common in the youngergroup and a mixed pattern in the older. The multivariate analysisindicate that Document tasks are not unidimensional, because bothgeneral and specific dimensions can be extracted from the raw scores.The traditional univariate analysis often disguised true patterns ofdifferences in the data, both in terms of country differences and interms of the direction of the gender differences. Raw score differencesbetween the genders proved to be due to differences in both general andpassage specific dimensions. Ten of the countries showed genderdifferences in both directions in the general dimension among9-year-olds, while an almost consistent pattern of female advantage wasfound among 14-years-olds. Many of the specific passage dimensionsturned out to favor either males or females. This complex pattern variedover both age groups and across countries, although commonalities in thepattern among subgroups of countries were common.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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