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Introductory Physics Gender Gaps: Pre- and Post-Studio Transition Documents

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Introductory Physics Gender Gaps: Pre- and Post-Studio Transition 

written by Patrick B. Kohl and H. Vincent Kuo

Prior work has characterized the gender gaps present in college-level introductory physics courses. Such work has also shown that research-based interactive engagement techniques can reduce or eliminate these gender gaps. In this paper, we study the gender gaps (and lack thereof) in the introductory calculus-based electricity and magnetism course at the Colorado School of Mines. We present eight semesters' worth of data, totaling 2577 students, with four semesters preceding a transition to Studio physics, and four following. We examine gender gaps in course grades, DFW (D grade, fail, or withdrawal) rates, and normalized gains on the Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism (CSEM), and consider factors such as student ACT scores and grades in prior math classes. We find little or no gap in male/female course grades and DFW rates, but substantial gaps in CSEM gains that are reduced somewhat by the transition to Studio physics.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 7, 2009

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