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Socioeconomic and Gender Differences in Students’ Perceptions of Physics in Mexican Schools

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Physics and Physics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics and Physics

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Paper Authors


Genaro Zavala Tecnologico de Monterrey and Universidad Andres Bello Orcid 16x16

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Genaro Zavala is a Full Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico. He collaborates with the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad Andres Bello in Santiago, Chile. Professor Zavala is National Researcher Level 1 of the National System of Researchers of Mexico. He works with the following research lines: conceptual understanding, active learning, development of assessment tools, faculty development and studies in STEM. Genaro Zavala was appointed to the editorial board of the Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research journal of the American Physical Society for the period 2015 to 2018, vice president of the Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN) for the period 2013-2015 and is currently the coordinator of the Topical Group: Evaluation of Learning and Instruction of the International Group for Research and Teaching of Physics (GIREP by its French acronym). Dr. Zavala is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) where he was vice president candidate, a member of the Committee on Research in Physics Education (RIPE) a member and chair of the International Education Committee and elected member of Leadership Organizing Physics Education Research Council (PERLOC) in the period 2015-2018.

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Angeles Dominguez Tecnologico de Monterrey and Universidad Andres Bello Orcid 16x16

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Angeles Dominguez is a Professor of the Department of Mathematics within the School of Engineering, a researcher at the School of Education, and Associate Dean of Faculty Development at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. Also, she is currently collaborating with the School of Engineering at the University Andres Bello at Santiago, Chile. Angeles holds a bachelor degree in Physics Engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey and a doctoral degree in Mathematics Education from Syracuse University, NY. Dr. Dominguez is a member of the Researchers’ National System in Mexico (SNI-2) and has been a visiting researcher at Syracuse University, at UT-Austin and at Universidad Andres Bello. She teaches undergraduate courses in Mathematics, graduate courses in Education, and is a thesis advisor on the master and doctoral programs on education at the Tecnologico de Monterrey. Her main research areas are: faculty development, teaching methods, and gender issues in STEM education.

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To understand gender and socioeconomic differences in scientific and technological areas, studies that deepen the understanding of each culture or region are necessary. This paper contributes to the knowledge of high-school students’ perceptions about physics by gender and different socioeconomic statuses in Mexico. To do this, the authors present data obtained from the implementation of a 5-point-Likert-scale survey regarding the perception of physics by 9th grade (13 to 15-years old) Mexican students (161 female and 157 male) from two different and demographically contrasting states within the country, Nuevo Leon (220 students) and Chiapas (98 students). We used student t-tests for parametric data to determine the statistical significance of the results among three factors: gender, state, and socioeconomic status of the school (marginalization level). The overall results indicate that the most significant differences occur in the comparison of the states, and the least differences arise in the comparisons of gender. Moreover, the differences in gender are related to the states the students are in, with contrasting results. There is still much to do to achieve equity in academic studies and professional life in STEM areas, so work like this leads to the type of profound understanding that is essential to achieve gender and socioeconomic equity.

Zavala, G., & Dominguez, A. (2020, June), Socioeconomic and Gender Differences in Students’ Perceptions of Physics in Mexican Schools Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35195

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