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ERIC Number: EJ1256431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2020
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Group Roles in Unstructured Labs Show Inequitable Gender Divide
Quinn, Katherine N.; Kelley, Michelle M.; McGill, Kathryn L.; Smith, Emily M.; Whipps, Zachary; Holmes, N. G.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v16 n1 Article 010129 Jan-Jun 2020
Instructional labs are being transformed to better reflect authentic scientific practice, often by removing aspects of pedagogical structure to support student agency and decision making. We explored how these changes impact men's and women's participation in group work associated with labs through clustering methods on the quantified behavior of students. We compared the group roles students take on in two different types of instructional settings: (i) highly structured traditional labs, and (ii) less structured inquiry-based labs. Students working in groups in the inquiry-based (less structured) labs assumed different roles within their groups, however men and women systematically took on different roles and men behaved differently when in single- versus mixed-gender groups. We found no such systematic differences in role division among male and female students in the traditional (highly structured) labs. Students in the inquiry-based labs were not overtly assigned these roles, indicating that the inequitable division of roles was not a result of explicit assignment. Our results highlight the importance of structuring equitable group dynamics in educational settings, as a gendered division of roles can emerge without active intervention. As the culture in physics evolves to remove systematic gender biases in the field, instructors in educational settings must not only remove explicitly biased aspects of curricula but also take active steps to ensure that potentially discriminatory aspects are not inadvertently reinforced.
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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
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1836617