Gender bias in the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study 2003 (TIMMS) for Canadian students /
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This study is a secondary data analysis of the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study 2003 (TIMSS) to determine if there is a gender bias, unbalanced number of items suited to the cognitive skill of one gender, and to compare performance by location. Results of the Grade 8, math portion of the test were examined. Items were coded as verbal, spatial, verbal /spatial or neither and as conventional or unconventional. A Kruskal- Wallis was completed for each category, comparing performance of students from Ontario, Quebec, and Singapore. A Factor Analysis was completed to determine if there were item categories with similar characteristics. Gender differences favouring males were found in the verbal conventional category for Canadian students and in the spatial conventional category for students in Quebec. The greatest differences were by location, as students in Singapore outperformed students from Canada in all areas except for the spatial unconventional category. Finally, whether an item is conventional or unconventional is more important than whether the item is verbal or spatial. Results show the importance of fair assessment for the genders in both the classroom and on standardized tests.