Investigating Fairness of Reading Comprehension Section of INUEE: Learner’s Attitudes towards DIF Sources

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics; Department of English Language and Literature, Hakim Sabzevari University.

2 Professor of Applied Linguistics; Department of English Language and Literature, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad.

3 MA in Educational Psychology; Department of Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was two-fold: (a) First, it examined fairness of Special English Test (SET) of Iranian National University Entrance Exam (INUEE) by analyzing Differential Item Functioning (DIF) with reading comprehension section of this test (b) second, it explored test takers’ attitudes towards possible sources of unfairness and DIF. In the quantitative part of the study the data from 10000 test takers (6820 females and 3180 males) were analyzed for gender DIF using Mantel-Haenszel (MH) technique. It was revealed that only 6 items in the reading comprehension skill showed DIF. Further analysis manifested that the effect size of DIF for all six items were category A or negligible. Moreover, qualitative interview results indicated that learners generally considered the test a fair one while some potential sources of bias such as topic familiarity, multiple-choice format of the test, topic interest, passage length, and complex structure of test items were mentioned.

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