Breaking stereotypes: Female physics students perform as well as or better than males

College Station, Texas — In older stereotypes, women are said to perform less than men in science courses, especially in physics courses. But according to recent research, it can’t be more wrong. Female physics students at Texas A & M University performed well, and in some cases performed better than male students in the course, researchers report.

In this study, researchers from the Texas A & M Department of Physics and Astronomy collected data from 10,000 students over a 10-year period. All students took an introductory course in physics and their exam scores and final averages were analyzed. According to the data, there was no evidence that female students performed poorly in these particular courses.

Data were collected via a database containing all introductory physics courses and averages of 10-year students. The courses included both a calculus-based physics course normally enrolled in physics and engineering majors and an algebra-based physics course normally attended by medical and life sciences majors. The results showed that, inconsistent with stereotypes, there was no association between student gender and the overall performance of the course.

“There is no consistent tendency for boys to outnumber girls. Our study also shows statistically significant gender-based differences in each of the four introductory physics courses as the semester progresses. It provides new knowledge about whether or not it has been done for a long time, “says the co-author. Tatiana El KimovaTexas A & M Physicist and Presidential Professor of Teaching Excellence. “When the difference in the final grades of the course was observed, there was no permanent difference across the exams for that course.”

Also, there was no difference in the final average of each course, regardless of the differences in the grades of the exams in progress. In addition, the results showed that women were superior to men in algebra-based physics courses.

“Most of the existing studies report a permanent gender gap.”

Previous studies collected data by asking students to complete a study that tests their understanding of a particular physics concept. However, these surveys are optional and men usually scored higher. This further enhances stereotypes, and researchers have developed this study to help them obtain substantive evidence.

“In the field of physics education research, most of the existing research is a permanent gender difference that men perform significantly better than women in introductory dynamics conceptual inventory assessments such as force conceptual inventory. The results of previous studies on gender differences in course grades and student grades based on exams are inconsistent. In many studies, boys and girls in exam and course grades. Although shown to be better than, in other groups, there was no significant gender difference in student performance, “says Erukhimova.

Various statistical data were collected to determine if a student’s gender was related to course grades. To get a better context, we used the questionnaire to determine the student’s feelings about the performance of their course and their commitment and participation in the course. In the fall semester of 2019, approximately 1,600 students anonymously answered the questionnaire.

“The answer showed that female students were less aware of their performance than their male classmates. The only class in which female students recognized their performance as equivalent to their male classmates. Is an algebra-based mechanic, and women are usually better than men. In addition, male and female students may feel different about performance and contributions within the class, but they are equal to the class. I found that I felt it was included, “adds Erukhimova.

Eliminate physics stereotypes

The data was collected directly from the faculty and included only introductory courses. In addition, the data did not include off-course factors that could affect each student’s grades. Dr. Erukhimova and her team want to incorporate the SAT / ACT score into the data to determine the effect of preparation on the results of this study.

“We believe that all students should have equal opportunities and opportunities to succeed in physics. The results of this work are gender stereotypes that negatively impact a large number of female students. It can help fight type threats. By contributing to a system of knowledge about how gender relates to student performance, our work that would not have been possible without colleague data I hope it will be another step towards dismantling the preconceptions of gender-based social prejudice. Physics, “says El Kimova.

The findings are published in the journal of the American Physical Society. Physics Review Physics Education Research Will be highlighted in Related Physics magazine News and commentary function.

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