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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v4.i2-3.40
pages 129-140

GENDER AND RACIAL/ETHNIC DIFFERENCES ON ALTERNATIVE SCIENCE ASSESSMENTS

Jonathan A. Supovitz
Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, 3440 Market Street, Suite 560, Philadelphia, PA 19104

ABSTRACT

Differences in student standardized test performance by gender and race/ethnicity have long been noted. Science assessments are no exception. Alternative assessments are seen as a potential remedy to this problem. This article examines gender and racial/ethnic differences on two science alternative assessments: an open-ended paper-and-pencil assessment and a hands-on performance assessment. Both assessments were completed by 131 fourth graders in six classes in six different schools in an industrial Northeastern state. Boys and girls performed similarly on both assessments. Racial/ethnic differences in performance were more pronounced. On both assessments, white students, on average, scored higher than minority students. On the open-ended assessment, statistically significant differences in achievement were noted between whites and both black and Hispanic students. By contrast, there were no statistically significant racial/ethnic differences in achievement on the performance assessment. This suggests that group achievement is somewhat sensitive to the content and form of assessment.


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