Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Investigating Gender Differences in Test Anxiety, Self-efficacy, Mindset, Grade Penalty and Grades in Physics Courses: A Quest for Equity

Malespina, Alysa (2023) Investigating Gender Differences in Test Anxiety, Self-efficacy, Mindset, Grade Penalty and Grades in Physics Courses: A Quest for Equity. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (4MB) | Preview


Students’ grades and motivational beliefs about physics can influence their performance and persistence in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, as well as their future career opportunities and goals. In recent years, many studies have used these outcomes as measures of equity in physics classrooms. Students from traditionally marginalized groups in physics (such as women) may not have the support and resources needed to develop strong motivational beliefs in physics. They have to contend with societal stereotypes and biases about who can excel in physics throughout their lives and are less likely to take advanced physics in high school. In this dissertation, I investigate the relationship between gender, physics motivational beliefs and grade outcomes for students.

Through my quantitative studies, I first analyzed gender differences in students’ physics self-efficacy and test anxiety and how those constructs predict high-stakes and low-stakes test performance. Next, I investigated how perception of the effectiveness of peer interactions can influence women and men’s physics self-efficacy, and how these measures predict performance. Additionally, I investigated gender differences in physics intelligence mindset and analyzed how mindset predicted course grades.

Lastly, I investigated gender differences in grade penalties (grade penalty for a group is defined as a lower grade in a course compared to the overall grade point average up to that point). These findings can be useful to instructors who aim to make their courses more equitable and inclusive for all students. I discuss approaches that can make the learning environment more equitable and inclusive while maintaining high standards


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Malespina, Alysaalm417@pitt.edualm417
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSingh,
Committee MemberClark,
Committee MemberMong,
Committee MemberDevaty,
Committee MemberSchunn,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 July 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 14 July 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 404
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Physics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: physics education; equity; inclusion; gender
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2023 18:45
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 18:45


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item