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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Adrienne L. Traxler, Rachel Henderson, John Stewart, Gay Stewart, Alexis Papak, and Rebecca S. Lindell
Research on the test structure of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) has largely ignored gender, and research on FCI gender effects (often reported as "gender gaps") has seldom interrogated the structure of the test. These rarely crossed streams of research leave open the possibility that the FCI may not be structurally valid across genders, particularly since many reported results come from calculus-based courses where 75% or more of the students are men. We examine the FCI considering both psychometrics and gender disaggregation (while acknowledging this as a binary simplification), and find several problematic questions whose removal decreases the apparent gender gap. We analyze three samples (total Npre = 5391, Npost = 5769) looking for gender asymmetries using classical test theory, item response theory, and differential item functioning. The combination of these methods highlights six items that appear substantially unfair to women and two items biased in favor of women. No single physical concept or prior experience unifies these questions, but they are broadly consistent with problematic items identified in previous research. Removing all significantly gender-unfair items halves the gender gap in the main sample in this study. We recommend that instructors using the FCI report the reduced-instrument score as well as the 30-item score, and that credit or other benefits to students not be assigned using the biased items.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 010103
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- General
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
= Instruments
- Research Design & Methodology
= Data
= Validity
- Sample Population
= Gender
- Societal Issues
= Gender Issues
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
= Skills
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103
NSF Number:
PHY-0108787
Keywords:
FCI gender gap, FCI item response theory, FCI structural analysis, FCI validity, gender gap in FCI
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 31, 2018 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
May 31, 2022 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 18, 2018
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AIP Format
A. Traxler, R. Henderson, J. Stewart, G. Stewart, A. Papak, and R. Lindell, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 14 (1), 010103 (2018), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103).
AJP/PRST-PER
A. Traxler, R. Henderson, J. Stewart, G. Stewart, A. Papak, and R. Lindell, Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 14 (1), 010103 (2018), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103>.
APA Format
Traxler, A., Henderson, R., Stewart, J., Stewart, G., Papak, A., & Lindell, R. (2018, January 18). Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 14(1), 010103. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103
Chicago Format
Traxler, A, R. Henderson, J. Stewart, G. Stewart, A. Papak, and R. Lindell. "Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 14, no. 1, (January 18, 2018): 010103, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103 (accessed 18 July 2024).
MLA Format
Traxler, Adrienne, Rachel Henderson, John Stewart, Gay Stewart, Alexis Papak, and Rebecca Lindell. "Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 14.1 (2018): 010103. 18 July 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Adrienne Traxler and Rachel Henderson and John Stewart and Gay Stewart and Alexis Papak and Rebecca Lindell", Title = {Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {14}, Number = {1}, Pages = {010103}, Month = {January}, Year = {2018} }
Refer Export Format

%A Adrienne Traxler %A Rachel Henderson %A John Stewart %A Gay Stewart %A Alexis Papak %A Rebecca Lindell %T Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 14 %N 1 %D January 18, 2018 %P 010103 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Traxler, Adrienne %A Henderson, Rachel %A Stewart, John %A Stewart, Gay %A Papak, Alexis %A Lindell, Rebecca %D January 18, 2018 %T Gender fairness within the Force Concept Inventory %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 14 %N 1 %P 010103 %8 January 18, 2018 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010103


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