No Access Published Online: 02 September 2020
The Physics Teacher 58, 399 (2020);
One of the many ways issues of underrepresentation appear in the physics classroom is female students frequently have a lower perception of their performance and ability than their male peers. Understanding how classroom experiences impact students’ confidence, especially for underrepresented students, can provide an important guide to designing physics classrooms where every student sees themselves as capable of learning and doing physics. To explore these issues in my AP Physics 1 classroom, I started asking my students to self-assess as part of my assessment process, allowing me to collect data comparing students’ perceptions to their actual performance. I also conducted interviews and collected student reflections to gain insights into the classroom experiences that impacted students’ confidence in physics. My students made it clear that discovering concepts in the lab contributed to their confidence. Girls also built confidence from teacher feedback, even on assessments where they scored poorly, while boys saw peer interactions as a source of confidence.
  1. 1. Emily M. Marshman, Z. Yasmin Kalender, Timothy Nokes-Malach, Christian Schunn, and Chandralekha Singh, “Female students with A’s have similar physics self-efficacy as male students with C’s in introductory courses: A cause for alarm?Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 14, 020123 (Dec. 2018)., Google ScholarCrossref, ISI
  2. 2. Tamjid Mujtaba and Michael J. Reiss, “Inequality in experiences of physics education: Secondary school girls’ and boys’ perceptions of their physics education and intentions to continue with physics after the age of 16,” Int. J. Sci. Educ. 35, 1824–1845 (July 2013). Google ScholarCrossref
  3. 3. Jayson M. Nissen and Jonathan T. Shemwell, “Gender, experience, and self-efficacy in introductory physics,” Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 12, 020105 (Aug. 2016)., Google ScholarCrossref, ISI
  4. 4. Emily M. Marshman, Z. Yasmin Kalender, Christian Schunn, Timothy Nokes-Malach, and Chandralekha Singh, “A longitudinal analysis of students’ motivational characteristics in introductory physics courses: Gender differences,” Can. J. Phys. 96, 391–405 (May 2017)., Google ScholarCrossref, ISI
  5. 5. Lesa M. Covington Clarkson, Quintin U. Love, and Forster D. Ntow, “How confidence relates to mathematics achievement: A new framework,” Math. Educ. Life Times Crisis, 441–451 (April 2017). Google Scholar
  6. 6. Albert Bandura, “Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change,” Psychol. Rev. 84, 191–215 (Jan. 1977)., Google ScholarCrossref
  7. 7. Jane Jackson, Larry Dukerich, and David Hestenes, “Modeling Instruction: An effective model for science education,” Sci. Educ. 17, 10–17 (Spring 2008). Google Scholar
  1. © 2020 American Association of Physics Teachers.