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.R15.9

Abstract: R15.00009 : Factors that encourage females to pursue physical science careers: Testing five common hypotheses

3:06 PM–3:18 PM

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Authors:

  Zahra Hazari
    (Department of Engineering \& Science Education and Department of Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University)

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

  Robynne M. Lock
    (Department of Engineering \& Science Education, Clemson University)

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

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

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

There are many hypotheses regarding factors that may encourage female students to pursue careers in the physical sciences. Using Propensity Score Matching (PSM) on national data (n=7505) drawn from the Persistence Research in Science and Engineering (PRiSE) project, we test five commonly held beliefs including having a single-sex physics class, having a female physics teacher, having female scientist guest speakers in physics class, discussing the work of women scientists in physics class, and discussing the under-representation of women in physics class. The effect of these experiences is compared for female students who are matched on several factors, including parental education, prior science/math interests, and academic background, thereby controlling for the effect of many confounding variables.

To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2012.APR.R15.9