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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v4.i1.30
pages 27-42

CLOSING THE GENDER GAP IN STUDENT CONFIDENCE: RESULTS FROM A UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS PHYSICS CLASS

Gay Stewart
Department of Physics, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701
Jon Osborn
Department of Physics, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

ABSTRACT

It is agreed that an increasing level of technical literacy will be needed to maintain the society of the future. A lower level of technical literacy for women and minorities translates into a perpetuating economic disadvantage for them and for our country. The question then becomes how to best include and educate this workforce. In this study, women's and men's perceptions of and confidence in an experimental physics class at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, are compared. The class is a National Science Foundation sponsored CCD project that does not address women specifically, but attempts to improve the educational experience for all students. The results presented indicate that women make statistically significant gains in confidence and attitude toward science in the experimental course when compared to a traditional course. "Statistically significant" gain is taken to mean that a statistically significant gap between men and women favoring the men was reduced to a statistically insignificant gap or that a statistically insignificant gap between the men and the women became a statistically significant advantage to the women.


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