THE APPLICATION OF DIFFERENTIAL PERSON FUNCTIONING ON THE SCIENCE LITERACY OF TAIWAN PISA 2015
Purpose of Study: This study is an application of differential person functioning (DPF) on the data of Taiwan PISA 2015 science literacy. We use this method to understand the strength and weakness of Taiwan students in science literacy. It is also hoped that the results could be helpful in improving the content of curriculum and the remedial instruction.
Methodology: We transpose the person-item data matrix into an item-person matrix, and use Mantel-Haenszel method to analyze this matrix. The focal and reference groups change from persons to item clusters, that is, cognitive domains in the PISA science assessment.
Main Findings: Results show the proportions of DPF are very few. This implies most Taiwan students have a comprehensive science literacy. Up to 5.9% students perform differentially in three science competencies. Most DPF students perform better in the explain phenomena scientifically (EP) competency than the others no matter what proficiency level they are belong to. This may reflect the current situation of science education in Taiwan. The experts and teachers should develop more curriculums to reinforce the students’ competencies about evaluate and design scientific enquiry (ED) and interpret data and evidence scientifically (ID).
Limitations: The effect sizes of DPF are not provided, the degree of DPF is unidentified. DPF analyses only test the relative difference in two cognitive scales. Future studies can incorporate other cognitive diagnostic model to obtain more information in detail.
Importance of Study: The PISA assessments provide a favorable framework to examine students’ literacy. The results of international reports show that Taiwan students performed well in science. The application of differential person functioning can find out the weaknesses of Taiwan students in science literacy. Furthermore, we applied the DPF procedure to explore the characteristics of students in the different level of performance.
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