Northern Lights on PISA 2006

Differences and similarities in the Nordic countries

image of Northern Lights on PISA 2006

The Next Big Thing? Trends Shaping Nordic Innovation is written for people interested in and working with the issues of innovation, economic development, globalisation and climate change, and how these issues impact on companies and industries, and in national or in international settings such as Nordic co-operation or the European Union. The book argues that innovation needs to measured and managed. Innovation needs to be developed as a serious management discipline in order to deliver on the future expectations of investors whether these investors are from private companies or public government agencies. The publication also argues that there is a need to emphasise that research is not the same as innovation, and that we need to distinguish between science and the “scientific method” in order to develop better innovation policies and innovation management techniques. In the final focus chapter on climate change the book states that the Nordic region has a strong position within some of the new energy and environment industries. Yet, in order to keep that position and to stay in the global vanguard of clean technologies and climate industries, it might be necessary for the Nordic countries to experiment with what the authors call “forced innovation”. The book is relevant for industry branch organisations, company managers, policy makers, public policy professionals as well as graduate and undergraduate courses in management, innovation, entrepreneurship, globalisation and climate change.



Are Icelandic boys really better on computerised tests?

Iceland has participated in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) since the first study in 2000. In PISA 2003 Iceland was the country where girls had the greatest advantage over boys in reading literacy as well as in mathematics. The PISA 2006 cycle included an optional computer-based component assessing scientific competences (Computer-Based Assessment of Scientific Literacy – CBAS) and Iceland's participation in CBAS was intended to investigate this gender gap finding. This article examines modality effects on gender performance by comparing achievement results on the PISA 2006 paper and pencil (P&P) assessment and CBAS. Gender difference is compared in terms of several factors relating to both student aptitude and item specific factors. These include: Computer familiarity, motivation, enjoyment, effort on the test, interactivity of computer items, reading load of items and item difficulty. A clear-cut finding is that boys in all three participating countries (Iceland, Denmark and Korea) outperformed girls in science literacy when the test was presented via computer regardless of the patterns of achievement across gender on the PISA paper and pencil test. Despite the intuitive relationship between higher motivation, greater experience with and confidence in ICT tasks and achievement on the computer-based test, statistical analysis of the correlations between achievement and these factors did not reveal any significant association with achievement. The increase in boys' performance in CBAS may however be partially explained by lower reading load and by boys' greater test fatigue on low difficulty items in paper based tests. Gender differences favouring girls in Iceland is removed in performance on paper based items of low reading load (under 100 words) so it is proposed that the difficulty of the P&P science items may fatigue boys and encourages them to "give up" on P&P tests more than girls. Boys may be disadvantaged by the length of the P&P science items. Some cautionary notes are made about further studies with balanced test design, similar experiments should use a third reference group where a group of matched students are given the same paper and pencil items via computer.


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