Gender differences in both force concept inventory and introductory physics performance

Jennifer Docktor, Kenneth Heller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

44 Scopus citations


We present data from a decade of introductory calculus-based physics courses for science and engineering students at the University of Minnesota taught using cooperative group problem solving. The data include 40 classes with more than 5500 students taught by 22 different professors. The average normalized gain for males is 0.4 for these large classes that emphasized problem solving. Female students made up approximately 20% of these classes. We present relationships between pre and post Force Concept Inventory (FCI) scores, course grades, and final exam scores for females and males. We compare our results with previous studies from Harvard [2] and the University of Colorado [3,4]. Our data show there is a significant gender gap in pre-test FCI scores that persists post-instruction although there is essentially no gender difference in course performance as determined by course grade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2008 Physics Education Research Conference
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 Physics Education Research Conference - Edmonton, Canada
Duration: Jul 23 2008Jul 24 2008

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Conference2008 Physics Education Research Conference


  • Conceptual learning
  • Gender
  • Introductory physics
  • Physics education research


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