Session R15: Physics Education Research: Issues in Intro Classes, Modeling and Gender

1:30 PM–3:18 PM, Monday, April 2, 2012
Room: Grand Hall East D

Sponsoring Unit: FEd
Chair: Thomas Olsen, Am. Inst. of Physics/Soc. of Physics Students

Abstract ID: BAPS.2012.APR.R15.6

Abstract: R15.00006 : The influence of physics teacher gender on college students' pursuit of careers in the physical sciences

2:30 PM–2:42 PM

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  Florin Lung
    (Department of Engineering \& Science Education, Clemson University)

  Geoff Potvin
    (Department of Engineering \& Science Education and Department of Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University)

  Philip M. Sadler
    (Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

  Gerhard Sonnert
    (Science Education Department, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

In science disciplines, students develop career goals based in part on their high school experiences. Science teachers and their personal characteristics are a part of this experience. In the case of physics, teacher gender is believed to modulate the interplay between student's own gender and their gender-related perceptions of physics. Using national data from college students (PRiSE Project, N=7505), we analyze the physics teacher gender effects on the choice of a career in the physical sciences by both male and female students. We examine three sub-samples of the data: students who have not taken any high school physics courses (about 60 percent of the total), those who have taken one physics course (teacher female or male), and those who have taken two physics courses (two female, two male, or one female and one male teacher). A correspondence analysis reveals an exploratory picture of the association between primary and confounding factors. Subsequently, a linear regression on students' physical science career choices is used as a confirmatory analysis of this picture.

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