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Klieme, Eckhard; Baumert, Jürgen:

Identifying national cultures of mathematics education:
Analysis of cognitive demands and differential item functioning in TIMSS.

In: European Journal of Psychology of Education, 16 (2001) 3 , pp. 383-400


Zeitschriftenaufsatz; Zeitschriftenaufsatz/referiert,statusäquivalent

Mathematikunterricht, Schülerleistung, Kultureinfluß, Anforderung, Analyse, Internationaler Vergleich

Large scale assessments of student competencies address rather broad constructs and use parsimonious, uni-dimensional measurement models. Differential item functioning (DIF) in certain subpopulations usually has been interpreted as error or bias. Recent work in educational measurement, however, assumes that DIF reflects multidemensionality that is inherent in broad competency constructs and leads to differential achievement profiles. Thus, DIF parameters can be used to identify relative strenghts and weaknesses of certain student subpopulations. The present paper explores profiles in mathematical and physics competencies in upper secondary students from six countries. DIF analyses are combined with analyses of cognitive demsnds of test items based on psychological conceptions of mathematical and science problem solving. Experts judged the cognitive demands of TIMSS test items, and these demand ratings were correlated with DIF parameters. We expected that cultural framings and didactical traditions lead to specific aspects of mathematical and science problem solving being fostered in classroom instruction, which in turn results in DIF in international comparative assessments. Results for mathematics were in line with expectations about cultural and didactical traditions within these countries, while the explorative analysis for physics leaded to the discrimination between educational cultures which focus quantitative vs. qualitative aspects of reasoning in physics.

Bildungsqualität und Evaluation


last modified Nov 11, 2016