Physical Review Physics Education Research
We add to a growing literature suggesting that demographic grade gaps should be attributed to biases embedded in the courses themselves. Changes in the structure of two different introductory physics classes were made while leaving the topics covered and the level of coverage unchanged. First, a class where conceptual issues were studied before doing any complicated calculations had zero final exam grade gap between students from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups and their peers. Next, four classes that offered students a retake exam each week between the regular bi-weekly exams during the term had zero gender gap in course grades. Our analysis indicates that demographic grade gaps can be attributed to the course structure (a course deficit model) rather than to student preparation (a student deficit model).
Diversity & inclusion, Educational policy, Instructional strategies, Student preparation
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Physics and Astronomy
David J. Webb and Cassandra Paul. "Attributing equity gaps to course structure in introductory physics" Physical Review Physics Education Research (2023). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.19.020126