Previous studies have revealed gender differences in attitudes towards information technology (IT) literacy, with boys generally considering their IT literacy to be higher than that of girls. A new meta-analysis, published in Educational Research Review, tests whether the same gender differences can be seen in students’ actual performance on IT literacy tasks as measured by performance-based assessments.
In total, 46 effect sizes were extracted from 23 studies using a random-effects model. The main findings suggest that:
- Girls perform better than boys on performance-based IT literacy assessments (ES= +0.13).
- Gender differences in favor of girls are larger in primary schools (ES= +0.20) than in secondary schools (ES= +0.11).
- The overall effect size is robust across several analysis conditions.
- Overall, the gender differences in IT literacy are significant but small.
As these findings seem to contrast those obtained from previous meta-analyses that were based on self-reported IT literacy, the researchers conclude that the IT gender gap may not be as severe as it had been claimed to be.