Gender Gap and Polarisation of Physics on Global Courses
Allan L. Alinea, Wade Naylor
Osaka University, Japan
We examine the gender aspect of 'polarisation' in connection with student response to the six polarisation-inducing questions in the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). The test (pre and post) was given to first year classical mechanics students (N = 66 students, over four years) enrolled in an international (global) course at Osaka University, Japan. Our data suggest that the 'polarisation' phenomenon is not unique to one gender. Furthermore, the extent by which it is exhibited by males may differ from that of females at the beginning (pretest) but the gap closes upon learning more about forces (posttest). These findings are for the most part, complemented by our result for the FCI as a whole. Although the differences in means for males and females may suggest a gender gap, statistical analysis shows that there is no gender difference at the 95% confidence level.