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Gender Differences in Both Force Concept Inventory and Introductory Physics Performance Documents

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Gender Differences in Both Force Concept Inventory and Introductory Physics Performance 

written by Jennifer Docktor and Kenneth Heller

We present data from a decade of introductory calculus-based physics courses for science and engineering students at the University of Minnesota taught using cooperative group problem solving. The data include 40 classes with more than 5500 students taught by 22 different professors.  The average normalized gain for males is 0.4 for these large classes that emphasized problem solving. Female students made up approximately 20% of these classes. We present relationships between pre and post Force Concept Inventory (FCI) scores, course grades, and final exam scores for females and males.  We compare our results with previous studies from Harvard [2] and the University of Colorado [3,4].  Our data show there is a significant gender gap in pre-test FCI scores that persists post-instruction although there is essentially no gender difference in course performance as determined by course grade.

Published October 20, 2008
Last Modified May 21, 2009

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