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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Rachel Henderson, John Stewart, and Adrienne L. Traxler
Over the last decade, the "gender gap" in physics conceptual inventory scores has been extensively studied by the physics education research community. Researchers have identified many factors that influence the overall differences in post-test scores between men and women. More recently, it has been shown that the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) contains eight items that are substantially unfair; six are unfair to women, two are unfair to men. The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE) and the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), however, contain fewer unfair items. In this work, results from prior studies are used to further explore the gender gap in five large samples of conceptual inventory data: the FCI (N1 = 3663), the FMCE (N2 = 2551), (N3 = 3719), and the CSEM (N4 = 1767, N5 = 2439). The gender gap in these samples is partitioned into four components: the gender gap resulting from the student's academic performance, the gender gap resulting from prior preparation in physics, the gender gap resulting from instrumental fairness, and the gender gap of students with equal academic performance and physics preparation on the fair instrument. For all samples, very little of the gender gap was explained by differences in academic performance between men and women, measured by ACT or SAT math percentile scores or physics test average. The percentage of the gender gap resulting from instrumental fairness varied across samples from 30% in the FCI to 2% to 6% in the CSEM. A substantial part of the gender gap in four of the five samples (30%–40%) was explained by differences in prior physics preparation, measured by pretest scores on the conceptual inventories. Further correcting for conceptual physics prior preparation using the post-test score in the previous class reduced gender differences substantially.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 010131
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Achievement
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
= Instruments
- Research Design & Methodology
= Data
= Validity
- Sample Population
= Gender
- Societal Issues
= Gender Issues
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
= Skills
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Lower Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
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- Researchers
- Administrators
- Educators
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Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131
NSF Numbers:
PHY-0108787
EPS-1003907
ECR-1561517
Keywords:
gender equity, gender gap in CSEM, gender gap in FCI, gender gap in FMCE
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created June 5, 2019 by Kim Coy
Record Updated:
June 13, 2022 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 28, 2019
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AIP Format
R. Henderson, J. Stewart, and A. Traxler, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15 (1), 010131 (2019), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131).
AJP/PRST-PER
R. Henderson, J. Stewart, and A. Traxler, Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15 (1), 010131 (2019), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131>.
APA Format
Henderson, R., Stewart, J., & Traxler, A. (2019, May 28). Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 15(1), 010131. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131
Chicago Format
Henderson, R, J. Stewart, and A. Traxler. "Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15, no. 1, (May 28, 2019): 010131, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131 (accessed 23 May 2024).
MLA Format
Henderson, Rachel, John Stewart, and Adrienne Traxler. "Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 15.1 (2019): 010131. 23 May 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Rachel Henderson and John Stewart and Adrienne Traxler", Title = {Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {15}, Number = {1}, Pages = {010131}, Month = {May}, Year = {2019} }
Refer Export Format

%A Rachel Henderson %A John Stewart %A Adrienne Traxler %T Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 15 %N 1 %D May 28, 2019 %P 010131 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Henderson, Rachel %A Stewart, John %A Traxler, Adrienne %D May 28, 2019 %T Partitioning the gender gap in physics conceptual inventories: Force Concept Inventory, Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation, and Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 15 %N 1 %P 010131 %8 May 28, 2019 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.010131


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