Performance on the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test: Effects of Self-Assessment and Gender

Research paper by Nathalie Koivula, Peter Hassmén, Darwin P. Hunt

Indexed on: 01 Jun '01Published on: 01 Jun '01Published in: Sex roles


Scholarly knowledge is traditionally believed to exist if a person answers correctly when tested. A test-taker that makes a lucky guess is thereby implicitly assumed to know as much as a person who both answers correctly and is sure of it. By incorporating sureness assessments, an additional dimension of knowledge can be obtained. In this study, 317 females and 233 males participated (predominantly White European; with mean age = 18.7 years). One group answered questions using a conventional multiple-choice answer sheet. Another group answered the same questions, but they were also instructed to assess their sureness. Significant differences were observed on the quantitative subtest; those who made self-assessments outscored those who did not, and especially individuals who rated themselves low on traits traditionally regarded as masculine (measured with Bem Sex Role Inventory) benefited from this process. Incorporating self-assessments provides extra information that makes it possible to differentiate between those who know the subject matter and those who are guessing, as well as a way to reduce the effect of the gender typing of the task on performance.