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Abstract Title: Gender Differences in Physics 1: The Impact of a Self-Affirmation Intervention
Abstract: Prior work at CU-Boulder has shown that a gender gap (difference in male and female performance) exists in both the pre- and post-course conceptual surveys, despite the use of interactive engagement techniques [Kost, et. al., PRST-PER 5, 010101].  A potential explanation for this persistent gap is that stereotype threat, the fear of confirming a stereotype about one-self, is inhibiting females' performance.  Prior research has demonstrated that stereotype threat can be alleviated through the use of self-affirmation, a process of affirming one's overall self-worth and integrity [Cohen, et. al., Science 313, 1307].  We report the results of a randomized experiment testing the impact of a self-affirmation exercise on the gender gap in Physics 1.  The gender gap on a conceptual post-survey is reduced from 19% for students who did not affirm their own values, to 9% for students who completed two 15-minute self-affirmation exercises at the beginning of the semester.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster

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Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Lauren E. Kost
Department of Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder
390 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0390
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Steven J. Pollock
Department of Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder

Noah D. Finkelstein
Department of Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder

Geoffrey L. Cohen
School of Education, Stanford University

Tiffany A. Ito
Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder

Akira Miyake
Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder