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Abstract Title: The Persistence of the Gender Gap in Introductory Physics
Abstract: Our previous research[1] showed that despite the use of interactive engagement techniques, the gap in performance between males and females on a conceptual learning survey persisted from pre- to posttest, at our institution.  Such findings were counter to previously published work[2].  A follow-up study[3] suggested the gender gap may be more a result of differences in previous physics knowledge than gender.  Current research continues to analyze factors that may influence the observed gender gap in our courses.  We find that there are significant differences (p<0.05) between males and females on several measures of background understanding of math and physics, as well as attitudes about physics.  The posttest data from conceptual assessments are modeled using two regression models (multiple regression and logistic regression) to estimate the gender gap in posttest scores after controlling for these prior factors.  The results indicate that the gender gap exists in interactive physics classes at our institution, but is due in large part to differences in previous physics and math knowledge, and attitudes and beliefs.

[1]Pollock, et al, Phys Rev: ST: PER 3, 010107. [2]Lorenzo, et al, Am J Phys 74, 118. [3]Kost, et al, PERC Proceedings 2007, 137.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster
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Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Lauren Kost
University of Colorado at Boulder
390 UCB
Department of Physics
Boulder, CO 80309-0390
and Co-Presenter(s)
Steven Pollock, University of Colorado at Boulder, Steven.Pollock -at- colorado.edu
Noah Finkelstein, University of Colorado at Boulder, Noah.Finkelstein -at- colorado.edu