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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

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

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2017013584
pages 15-36

SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: GENDER BIAS IN THE PHYSICS CLASSROOM

Amy L. Graves
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave., Swarthmore, PA 19081
Etsuko Hoshino-Browne
Neumann University
Kristine P. H. Lui
Science, Engineering and Technology Department, Montgomery College, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown, MD 20876

ABSTRACT

This study examines physics students' evaluations of identical, video-recorded lectures performed by female and male actors playing the role of professors. The results indicate that evaluations by male students show statistically significant overall biases -with male professors rated more positively than female professors. Female students tended to be egalitarian, except in two areas. Female students evaluated female professors' interpersonal/communicative skills more positively than male professors'. They evaluated female professors' scientific knowledge and skills less positively than that of male professors just as male students did. These findings are relevant to two areas of research on bias in evaluation: rater-ratee similarity bias and stereotype confirmation bias. Results from this study have important implications for efforts focused on educating students and mentoring faculty members in order to increase the representation of women in the physical sciences.


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