Jun 13 – 19, 2015
University of Alberta
America/Edmonton timezone
Welcome to the 2015 CAP Congress! / Bienvenue au congrès de l'ACP 2015!

Gender gaps in a first-year physics lab

Jun 16, 2015, 2:45 PM
CCIS L1-160 (University of Alberta)

CCIS L1-160

University of Alberta

Oral (Non-Student) / orale (non-étudiant) Physics Education / Enseignement de la physique (DPE-DEP) T2-9 Gender and Arts in Physics Teaching (CEWIP-DPE) / Genre et arts dans l'enseignement de la physique (CEFEP-DEP)


Dr James Day (University of British Columbia)


It has been established that male students outperform female students on almost all commonly-used physics concept inventories. However, there is significant variation in the factors that contribute to this gender gap, as well as the direction in which they influence it. It is presently unknown if such a gender gap exists on the relatively new Concise Data Processing Assessment (CDPA). To get at estimates of the gap, we have measured performance on the CDPA at the pre-test and post-test level in the first-year physics lab at the University of British Columbia. We find a gender gap on the CDPA that persists from pre- to post-test and that is as big as, if not bigger than, similar reported gaps. That being said, we ultimately claim no evidence that female students are less capable of learning than their male peers, and we suggest caution when using gain measures alone to draw conclusions about differences in science classroom performance across gender.

Primary author

Dr James Day (University of British Columbia)


Mr Dhaneesh Kumar (University of British Columbia) Dr Doug Bonn (University of British Columbia) Dr Jared Stang (University of British Columbia) Dr Natasha Holmes (Stanford)

Presentation materials