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ERIC Number: EJ1122494
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Research-Based Assessment of Students' Beliefs about Experimental Physics: When Is Gender a Factor?
Wilcox, Bethany R.; Lewandowski, H. J.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v12 n2 p020130-1-020130-11 Jul-Dec 2016
The existence of gender differences in student performance on conceptual assessments and their responses to attitudinal assessments has been repeatedly demonstrated. This difference is often present in students' preinstruction responses and persists in their postinstruction responses. However, one area in which the presence of gender differences has not been extensively explored is undergraduate laboratory courses. For example, one of the few laboratory focused research-based assessments, the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics (E-CLASS), has not been tested for the existence of gender differences in students' responses. Here, we utilize a national data set of responses to the E-CLASS to determine if they demonstrate significant gender differences. We also investigate how these differences vary along multiple student and course demographic slices, including course level (first-year vs beyond-first-year) and major (physics vs nonphysics). We observe a gender gap in pre- and postinstruction E-CLASS scores in the aggregate data both for the overall score and for most items individually. However, for some subpopulations (e.g., beyond-first-year students) the size or even existence of the gender gap depends on another dimension (e.g., student major). We also find that for all groups the gap in postinstruction scores vanishes or is greatly reduced when controlling for preinstruction scores, course level, and student major.
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1432204; PHY1125844