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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Amber Byrum Simmons and Andrew F. Heckler
Two set of studies were conducted to better understand grades and grading practices in physics courses, and how these might influence demographic representational disparities in physics. The first study investigates the relationships between grades and the student-level factors of standardized test scores, (binary) gender, underrepresented minority (URM) status, first generation (FG) status, citizenship status, and age of over 20?000 students enrolled in algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics courses. Consistent with other studies, we find differences in mean grades for all of these factors, except for gender, and when standardized test scores are included in a regression model predicting grades, the demographic differences in grades decreases, though typically remain nonzero. We also find gender by test score and URM by test score interactions when predicting grades. The second study examines grade component scores, and replicates the finding that compared to men, women achieve higher scores on nonexam components and lower scores on exam components. We also find that the gap in score between URM and FG students and their counterparts is less for non-exam components than for exam components. Because of these differentials in components, we compared different models of grade components weighting and find that women and URM students differentially benefit from stronger weighting of nonexam components. While the benefit to grades is relatively small, the relative shift in percentages of grade rates of A, D, and F can have dramatic differential shifts. We also find that while exam components are moderately strongly correlated with standardized tests scores, nonexam components are not. These results suggest that grade component weighting is inevitably tied to issues of demographic equity, in the sense that altering the weights may change demographic disparities in grades and change the dependency of grades on standardized test scores.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 16, Issue 2, Pages 020125
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- General
Education - Basic Research
- Achievement
- Research Design & Methodology
= Evaluation
= Statistics
- Sample Population
- Societal Issues
= Cultural Issues
= Gender Issues
= Race Issues
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
= Skills
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125
NSF Number:
DMR-1420451
Keywords:
diversity, first-generation college student, gender equity, inclusion, justice in education, racial equity, underrepresented minority
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created May 12, 2021 by Bruce Mason
Record Updated:
June 30, 2022 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 21, 2020
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AIP Format
A. Simmons and A. Heckler, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16 (2), 020125 (2020), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125).
AJP/PRST-PER
A. Simmons and A. Heckler, Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16 (2), 020125 (2020), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125>.
APA Format
Simmons, A., & Heckler, A. (2020, October 21). Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 16(2), 020125. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125
Chicago Format
Simmons, Amber Byrum, and Andrew F. Heckler. "Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16, no. 2, (October 21, 2020): 020125, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125 (accessed 24 June 2024).
MLA Format
Simmons, Amber Byrum, and Andrew F. Heckler. "Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 16.2 (2020): 020125. 24 June 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125>.
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@article{ Author = "Amber Byrum Simmons and Andrew F. Heckler", Title = {Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {16}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020125}, Month = {October}, Year = {2020} }
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%A Amber Byrum Simmons %A Andrew F. Heckler %T Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 16 %N 2 %D October 21, 2020 %P 020125 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Simmons, Amber Byrum %A Heckler, Andrew F. %D October 21, 2020 %T Grades, grade component weighting, and demographic disparities in introductory physics %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 16 %N 2 %P 020125 %8 October 21, 2020 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.16.020125


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