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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Alysa Malespina and Chandralekha Singh
Creating equitable learning environments has been an area of significant focus for physics education researchers in recent years. Here we introduce a framework that posits that grade penalty is a measure of academic self-concept and investigate if there are gender differences in grade penalties in physics courses for students majoring in physics. In order to quantify grade penalty, we define grade anomaly as the difference between a student's grade in a course under consideration and their grade point average (GPA) in all other classes thus far. A grade anomaly lower than students expected grade based on their GPA is a grade penalty and higher than expected average grade is a grade bonus. Our framework posits that since women have traditionally been marginalized in physics, female physics majors are more likely to be negatively impacted by a grade penalty in their courses since their academic self-concept as a physics major hinges on them securing a certain grade. In the study presented here, we examine the average grade anomalies across a number of courses for female and male physics majors. We find that these students received grade penalties in almost all physics courses studied, though there were grade bonuses in a few laboratory courses. We also find that in physics courses, on average, women often had larger grade penalties than men, especially in introductory courses. We hypothesize that, because their grade penalties are often larger than men's, women's decisions to pursue a physics major and career may be particularly affected by grade penalties received in their various courses. Furthermore, the grade penalty measure can be easily computed by the physics programs concerned with equity.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 020127
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Achievement
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= Summative Assessment
- Behavior
- Research Design & Methodology
= Evaluation
= Statistics
- Sample Population
= Gender
- Societal Issues
= Gender Issues
- Student Characteristics
= Ability
= Skills
Education Practices
- Learning Environment
- Recruitment
= Diversity
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Reference Material
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Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127
NSF Numbers:
DUE-1524575
PHY-1806691
Keywords:
AGA research, Average Grade Anomaly, gender equity, gender imbalance, physics belongingness, physics identity
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created October 28, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
April 18, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 21, 2022
Other Collections:

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AIP Format
A. Malespina and C. Singh, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020127 (2022), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127).
AJP/PRST-PER
A. Malespina and C. Singh, Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors?, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18 (2), 020127 (2022), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127>.
APA Format
Malespina, A., & Singh, C. (2022, October 21). Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors?. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 18(2), 020127. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127
Chicago Format
Malespina, Alysa, and Chandralekha Singh. "Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors?." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18, no. 2, (October 21, 2022): 020127, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127 (accessed 4 March 2024).
MLA Format
Malespina, Alysa, and Chandralekha Singh. "Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors?." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 18.2 (2022): 020127. 4 Mar. 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Alysa Malespina and Chandralekha Singh", Title = {Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors?}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {18}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020127}, Month = {October}, Year = {2022} }
Refer Export Format

%A Alysa Malespina %A Chandralekha Singh %T Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors? %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %D October 21, 2022 %P 020127 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Malespina, Alysa %A Singh, Chandralekha %D October 21, 2022 %T Gender differences in grades versus grade penalties: Are grade anomalies more detrimental for female physics majors? %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 18 %N 2 %P 020127 %8 October 21, 2022 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.18.020127


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