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Abstract Title: The Effect of Classroom Diversity on Conceptual Learning in Physics
Abstract: Introductory physics is taken annually by hundreds of undergraduates at Ryerson University. The diversity of our students (a large Canadian urban university) reflects the diversity of Toronto. Their educational backgrounds also vary substantially. Since students' learning outcomes in the introductory science courses have a significant impact on their success in the science programs, we decided to investigate how student demographic and educational diversity affects their success in introductory physics. As expected, we found that the completion of a senior high school physics course positively impacts students' success in the course. The unexpected result was that gender remained a predictor of the students' success even when the completion of high school physics was accounted for. Interestingly, other demographic characteristics, (mother tongue, immigration, parental education) seem not to matter. The results suggest that the impact of completing high school physics may extend far beyond the first year, significantly hindering girls' success in SMET disciplines.

This study has been supported by the Ryerson SSHRC Internal Grant.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Tetyana Antimirova
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON, Canada, Non U.S. M5B 2K3
Phone: 1-416-979-5000 (7416)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Marina Milner-Bolotin
Andrea Noack