Gender bias and gender differences in two South African tests of academic literacy

  • Frans van der Slik


How much empirical evidence is there of gender bias in the Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) and its Afrikaans counterpart, Toets van Akademiese Geletterdheidsvlakke (TAG)? This paper reports on meta-analyses of 24 academic tests, containing data of more than 60 000 first-year South African students. TALL appears to be gender-neutral, while for TAG some evidence was found that men slightly outperform women. This outcome can be attributed almost entirely to male students outperforming female students on the subtest requiring the interpretation of graphs and visual information. Women outperform men slightly on the subtest dealing with text types. These outcomes are presented in light of discussions on gender differences versus gender bias.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2009, 27(3): 277–290

Author Biography

Frans van der Slik
Department of English, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa; Department of Linguistics, Radboud University, PO Box 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614