Sex differences in guessing and item omission
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Guessing and item omission may be regarded as risk-taking or risk-avoidance strategies – sex specific adaptations to testing situations. In this article, these phenomena were analysed by (a) percentage of omissions by sex, (b) negative binomial regression to asses sex differences in the number of omissions, (c) c-DIF analysis using IRT-LR test and (d) linear regression using item attributes, to assess whether the c-parameter is sex differentiated by the percentage of omits (controlling item difficulty). The data set analysed were from the 2012–2014 Polish lower-secondary schools final exams, comprising tests in maths, language, science and humanities. Contrary to the vast body of literature, boys omitted items slightly more frequently than girls. Possible explanations of this finding – specific to the Polish examination system – were provided. The hypothesis of a higher c-parameter for boys did not find strong support from this study. It was shown that the c-parameter should not only be interpreted as resulting from item non-omission. This supports the modern concept of the c-parameter as a consequence not only of random guessing, but also problem solving, creative guessing or cheating.
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