PISA Computer-Based Assessment of Student Skills in Science

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This report documents the initial step towards an electronically-delivered Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test pioneered by Denmark, Iceland and Korea. In 2006, the PISA assessment of science included for the first time a computer-based test. The results discussed in this report highlight numerous challenges and encourage countries to take the work further.

PISA Computer-Based Assessment of Student Skills in Science describes how the 2006 survey was administered, presents 15-year-olds’ achievement scores in science and explains the impact of information communication technologies on both males’ and females’ science skills. While males outperformed females on the computer-based test in all three countries, females in Iceland and males in Denmark performed better than their counterparts on the paper-and-pencil test. The evidence shows that, overall, males are more confident and use computers more frequently. While females tend to use the Internet more for social networking activities, males tend to browse the Internet, play games and download software.

Readers will also learn how students reacted to the electronic questionnaire and how it compared with pencil-and-paper tests. In general, there were no group differences across test methods buts students enjoyed the computer-based test more than the paper-and-pencil test.


Students' achievement in science

Overall achievement within countries did not change from one test modality to the next. Yet, there was a tendency for Denmark’s performance to decrease on the computer-based test. Korean students outperformed Danish and Icelandic students in the computer-based test just as they did in the paper-and-pencil test. In the computer based test, male performance increased in Iceland and Korea while female performance decreased. Males outperformed females on the computer-based test in all three countries. Females outperformed males on the paper-and-pencil test of science in Iceland whereas there was a gender difference in favour of males in the paper-and-pencil results for Denmark. The association between reading literacy and achievement on the science test was weaker for the computer-based items than for the paper-and-pencil items.


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