Could the well-established fact that males tend to score higher than females on the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) be due to gender bias in the questions? The eventual answer to the question hinges on the definition of bias. We assert that a question is biased only if a factor other than ability (in this case gender) affects the likelihood that a student will answer the question correctly. The statistical technique of differential item functioning allows us to control for ability in our analysis of student performance on each of the thirty FCI questions. This method uses the total score on the FCI as the measure of ability. We conclude that the evidence for gender bias in the FCI questions is marginal at best.
American Institute of Physics