home - login - register

PERC 2014 Abstract Detail Page

Previous Page  |  New Search  |  Browse All

Abstract Title: Gender issues in introductory physics: Recruitment, performance, and retention
Abstract: The underrepresentation of women in physics has been a persistent issue for the physics community and, unlike many other science disciplines, continues to be so.  In this symposium, we will explore gender issues in introductory physics from several perspectives:  how pre-college experiences can influence women's persistence in physics in college, how reformed pedagogies may differentially affect the performance of women in physics classes as well as their performance in subsequent, advanced physics courses, and ways in which women's particularly poor physics identities may be impacted through deliberate classroom interventions.  The papers in this session employ several different methodologies including both qualitative approaches (e.g. case studies utilizing longitudinal interview data) and quantitative approaches (e.g. correlational, quasi-experimental, and experimental methods utilizing survey, conceptual inventory, and course performance data).
Abstract Type: Poster Symposium

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Geoff Potvin
Department of Physics
CP 206, Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Florida International University
Miami, FL 33199
Phone: (305) 348-7614

Symposium Specific Information

Discussant: Idaykis Rodriguez
Moderator: Geoff Potvin
Presentation 1 Title: Exposure to underrepresentation discussion: The impacts on women's attitudes and identities
Presentation 1 Authors: Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Robynne Lock
Presentation 1 Abstract: In earlier work, we found that women who reported experiencing the "discussion of underrepresentation" in their high school physics classes were more likely to report a career interest in the physical sciences in college.  To explore this effect in more detail, we conducted two double-blind, random-assignment experiments on students enrolled in introductory, algebra-based college physics.  In the first, students were randomly assigned to read one of two short essays (one focused on the underrepresentation of women in physics, the other reporting on AMO physics research led by a woman) followed by a uniform set of reflection questions.  In the second, another cohort of students was primed on their beliefs about gender differences in physics before undergoing the same treatment (one of two essays and reflection questions).  In this paper, we compare the impacts on students' general science identity, physics identity, and performance gains on selected FMCE problems.
Presentation 2 Title: Female Students' Persistence and Engagement in Physics: The Role of High School Experiences
Presentation 2 Authors: Zahra Hazari, Eric Brewe, Theodore Hodapp, Renee Michelle Goertzen, Robynne M. Lock, Cheryl A. P. Cass
Presentation 2 Abstract: Prior research has emphasized the importance of early science experiences for engaging female students such that their science interests persist and they opt towards STEM careers in the future. However, this research is not specific to physics and the question of when and how female students become engaged with learning physics in ways that may lead to their persistence remains largely unexplored. Drawing on data from more than a thousand undergraduate women in physics who completed a survey as part of the application process for the Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics, we identify the important role that high school physics plays in attracting female students to physics careers. Drawing on longitudinal interview data from nine female students, we further explore the ways in which high school physics experiences can have a lasting impact, especially as these experiences become more temporally distant. Supported by NSF Grant 0952460 and 1346627.
Presentation 3 Title: The Impacts of Instructor and Student Gender on Student Performance in Introductory Modeling Instruction Courses
Presentation 3 Authors: Daryl McPadden, Eric Brewe
Presentation 3 Abstract: This study considers the impact of instructor on the gender gap in students' scores on the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) in Modeling Instruction (MI) courses at Florida International University (FIU). Earlier work has shown that MI had increased FCI scores overall when compared to traditional lecture courses; however, the gap between male and female students' scores in the MI courses increased over the course of the semester. Student data was collected from 600 students at FIU, over 19 semesters, with 11 different instructors. General Linear Regression was used to determine the significance of the student gender and instructor factors in predicting a student's FCI score post-instruction and the fraction of variance explained by these factors. Effect sizes were then calculated from the difference in female students' scores from male students' scores and compared between instructors.
Presentation 4 Title: The Long Term Impacts of Modeling Physics: The Performance of Men and Women in Follow-on Upper Level Physics Courses
Presentation 4 Authors: Idaykis Rodriguez, Eric Brewe, Laird H. Kramer
Presentation 4 Abstract: Active-learning approaches to teaching introductory physics have been found to improve student performance and learning gains in those introductory subjects.  This study goes further by investigating student performance in upper level physics courses after having previously taken Modeling Instruction introductory physics courses at Florida International University. Student performance data were analyzed for academic years 2010-2013 in upper level courses including Modern Physics, Mechanics, Electromagnetism, and Quantum Mechanics. We compare how students who took traditional or Modeling Instruction introductory courses perform in these subsequent courses.  We also look for differential effects between men and women who had these two types of introductory experiences.  The implications of this work for our understanding of the impacts of active-learning experiences will be discussed.