Author: Wendy Harris, Penny Neyland, Laura Roberts, Naomi Ginnever, Ed Pope, Gethin Thomas, Aisling Devine, Ian Horsfall, Dan Forman, Sara Barrento, David Brown, Gabriela Pinto-Juma
Students are exposed to gender bias throughout their lives, starting with early exposure to gender stereotypes in books for young children. Despite little evidence to support the theory, there is still the belief that gender will dictate performance in certain subject areas, such as Mathematics. Continuing exposure to gender bias in further and higher education perpetuates the belief that there are differences in male and female learning approaches, and that one gender will perform less well in different types of assessment. This study aimed to analyse coursework components and examination question types to determine whether there may be a bias towards a specific gender. Coursework components consisted of four different assessments: scientific drawing and annotations; multiple choice questions; group oral presentation; and quiz based on a laboratory demonstration. Examination questions were either multiple choice, analytical or essay questions. Results indicated that one coursework component, scientific drawings with annotations, may be more prone to bias. Examination question type chosen was not found affect mean marks of males or females, and questions associated with a deeper learning approach are not associated with higher performance in either gender. Implications for future teaching are discussed.