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Girls and TIMSS Physics

bulletAlmost half of American 12th grade girls demonstrated by correctly answering questions about physics principles that they had been taught and had remembered those principles.
bullet 
bulletOne third of 12th grade boys in the highest scoring countries correctly applied those principles.
bullet 
bulletBut zero percent of American 12th grade girls correctly applied those principles to to solving 29 basic TIMSS physics questions s12alm95.pdf
bullet 
bulletAnd zero percent of American 12th grade girls correctly applied math principles to problem solving.
bullet 
bulletOn seven of twenty multiple choice questions American girls would have gotten the correct answer if they had just guessed.
bullet 
bulletUS DEAD LAST in TIMSS.
bullet 
bulletIs Marie Curie a fraud?

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Only 25% of girls correctly answered Item G01 PATH OF ELECTRONS TRAVELING THROUGH A MAGNETIC FIELD, which is exactly the percentage who would have answered correctly if they had just guessed at this 4 part multiple choice question.  Only 22% answered Item G04 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDUCED CURRENT AND VARYING MAGNETIC FIELD, which is 3% fewer than would have answered correctly if they had just guessed at this 4 part question.  Only 20% correctly answered Item G05 DIRECTION REFRACTED RAY OF LIGHT, which is exactly the percent who would have answered it correctly if they had just guessed at this 5 part question.  Only 18% got Item G07 ENERGY TRANSFORMATION AND COLLISION OF CARS correct, 2% fewer than if they had just guessed.  11% got Item G08 MECHANICAL ENERGY OF BLOCK AND SPRING SYSTEM correct, 9% fewer than if they guessed.  17% got Item G09 DIRECTION OF FORCES IN AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE correct, 8% fewer than if they guessed.20% got Item G10 MINIMUM VOLTAGE NEEDED TO PRODUCE X- RAYS correct, exactly what they would have gotten by sheer guesswork.   Only 4% correctly answered Item G11 EFFECT OF ICE MELTING ON WATER LEVEL IN AQUARIUM, only 1% higher than the standard error of 3%. Only 1.4% (less than the standard error) got G12 CALCULATION OF MASS USING CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM correct.  7% got Item G13 DOPPLER EFFECT AND MOVING CAR correct, but this is barely a physics question to anyone who has seen an American highway.   2% (less than the standard error of 3%) got Item G14 PATHS OF ALPHA, BETA, AND GAMMA RAYS THROUGH AN ELECTRIC FIELD correct.  2% (less than the standard error) got G15 DIRECTION OF ACCELERATION OF A BOUNCING BALL correct. 3% (about the standard error) got G16 EFFECT OF PRESSURE ON WATER LEAKING FROM A BOTTLE correct. 1% (less than the 3% standard error) got G18 ALPHA PARTICLES PASSING THROUGH GOLD correct.  0% got non-multiple choice Items G19 LENZ’S LAW AND FALLING ALUMINUM RING, and H18 TELEVISION AS PARTICLE ACCELERATOR correct.  23% got H03 PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT AND KINETIC ENERGY OF EMITTED ELECTRONS correct, 3% more than just guessing. 1% got Item H04 TENSION OF STRING BETWEEN TWO FALLING OBJECTS correct, 19% less than if they had merely guessed. 29% got Item H06 INDUCED emf IN ROTATING COIL correct, 4% more than would have correctly answered this 4 part question had they just guessed at it.  Only 9% correctly answered Item H07 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEMPERATURE AND PRESSURE WITH CONSTANT VOLUME which is 16% fewer than if they had guessed.  Only 10% got Item H08 PATH OF ELECTRONS IN ELECTRIC FIELD correct, 10% less than if they just guessed.  Only 15% got Item H09 REFRACTION AND VELOCITY OF BLUE LIGHT correct, 5% fewer than just guessing.Only 11% correctly answered Item H10 VECTOR SUM OF ELECTRIC FORCES, 9% fewer than if they just guessed.  3% (the standard error) correctly answered H13 INTERPRETATION OF A FORCE VERSUS DISTANCE GRAPH, a non-multiple choice question.  Only 1% correctly answered H14 EFFECT OF DENSITY ON THE FREEZING OF WATER, which is 24% lower than if they just guessed. 1% (less than the 3% standard error) correctly answered the non-multiple choice question Item H17 RESISTANCE OF A SERIES CIRCUIT COMPONENT.

6% correctly answered Items H12 PARTICLE MOVEMENT IN A TRANSVERSE WAVE, and H15 DE BROGLIE WAVELGTH OF A MOBILE ELECTRON which are non-multiple choice questions which suggest that the level of understanding was just slightly higher than the standard error s12alm95.pdf

55% of American correctly answered Item G2, demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:

When a small volume of water is boiled, a large volume of steam is produced. Why?

A. The molecules are further apart in steam than in water.

B. Water molecules expand when heated.

C. The change from water to steam causes the number of molecules to increase.

D. Atmospheric pressure works more on water molecules than on steam molecules.

E. Water molecules repel each other when heated.

51% of American girls (vs. 48% of American boys) correctly answered Item G3, demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:

A jar of oxygen gas and a jar of hydrogen gas are at the same temperature.

Which of the following has the same value for the molecules of both gases?

A. the average velocity

B. the average momentum

C. the average force

D. the average kinetic energy

43% of American girls correctly answered Item G6, demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:

By what process do most stars release energy?

A. Electromagnetic induction resulting from strong magnetic fields

B. Rapid rotation of the star

C. Radioactivity in the interior of the star

D. Nuclear fusion in the interior of the star

E. Heat which was stored when the star was ‘born’

42% of American girls correctly answered Item G12 DIRECTION OF FORCE DUE CURRENT, demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle.

42% of American girls (vs. 38% of American boys) correctly answered Item H01 BOXES SLIDING DOWN INCLINED PLANES demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle.

39% of American girls correctly answered Item H02 LIQUID EVAPORATION demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:

H2. Which one of the following statements about liquid evaporation is correct? When a liquid evaporates

A. the temperature in the air above the liquid decreases.

B. fast-moving liquid molecules near the surface escape to the air and the liquid gets warmer.

C. the gas pressure of the substance directly above the liquid depends only on the atmospheric pressure.

D. fast-moving liquid molecules near the surface escape to the air and the liquid gets colder.

35% of American girls (vs. 33% of American boys) correctly answered Item H05 LENGTH OF SPACESHIP IN FLIGHT demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:

H5. A spaceship passes an observer at a speed of 0.9 c. The observer knows that the length of the spaceship, measured at rest before it took off, was 100 m. What is the length of the spaceship in flight as seen by the observer?

A. 19 m

B. 44 m

C. 229 m

D. 526 m

6% & 34% of American girls correctly answered Item H19A & B SPEED OF SOUND EXPERIMENT/ REASON demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:

(a) Briefly outline an experiment Susan could do at her school, using echos on the playground wall to measure the speed of sound. Indicate what materials Susan would need, what measurements she will take, and what computations she will make.

(b) Four teams in Susan’s class did the experiment you described. Each team got a different answer. Explain one reason why this might happen.

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On every question which relied on reasoning or computation, a statistical zero percent of girls answered correctly.  On thirteen 4-answer multiple choice questions, the percent of girls who answered correctly was lower than if they had just guessed at the answer.  On eight 5-answer multiple choice questions, the percent who answered correctly was just 4.75% higher than if they had just guessed.  Overall, an average of only 3.5% more American girls correctly answered all of the questions than if they had just guessed, compared to an international average of 23.2% of boys.  The percent of American girls correctly answering non-memorization questions was zero, compared to an international average of 14.3% of boys.

4% of girls vs. 15% of boys answered Item G11 correctly:

The water level in a small aquarium reaches up to a mark A. After a large ice cube is dropped into the water, the cube floats and the water level rises to a new mark B. What will happen to the water level as the ice melts? Explain your reasoning.

7% of girls vs. 40% of boys answered Item G13 correctly:

A car moving at constant speed with a siren sounding comes towards you and then passes by.  Describe how the frequency of the sound you hear changes.

1% of girls vs. 11.5% of boys answered G18 correctly:

A stream of alpha particles is directed at a very thin sheet of gold. Explain why most of the alpha particles pass through the sheet.

Actual % of Girls Answering CorrectlyPercent Correct with Random GuessesDifferenceAvgerage % correct per question
sum of 13 4-answer questions

321

325

-4

-0.3077

sum of 8 5-answer questions

198

160

38

4.75

sum of 17 non-multiple choice questions=avg 5.8% each

98

0

98

5.7647

Total

132

3.4737


 
 

TIMSS Physics Questions from timssallitems.pdf 39 released questions.Percent of US 12th Grade Girls With Correct AnswersCorrection for Multiple Choice QuestionsActual Percent of US 12th Grade Girls Demonstrating knowledge of the questionBoys' International AverageBoys' International Average Corrected for guessesUS boys prior to adjustment for guessesIntl' boys prior to adjustment for guessesCountry With Highest ScoreUS boys adjusted for guessesInt'l boys adjusted for guesses
G01 PATH OF ELECTRONS TRAVELING THROUGH A MAGNETIC FIELD 26 2.5 27 3.4 25 2.7

25

25

0

42.7

24

42.7

61.1

Norway

17.7

36.1

G04 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDUCED CURRENT AND VARYING MAGNETIC FIELD 26 2.6 31 3.8 22 2.7

22

25

-3

33.6

11

33.6

48.2

France

8.6

23.2

G05 DIRECTION REFRACTED RAY OF LIGHT 27 2.8 33 3.5 20 2.9

20

20

0

37

21

33

59.1

Russia

13

39.1

G07 ENERGY TRANSFORMATION AND COLLISION OF CARS 23 2.4 27 3.9 18 2.5

18

20

-2

32.7

16

27.1

61.1

Slovenia

7.1

41.1

G08 MECHANICAL ENERGY OF BLOCK AND SPRING SYSTEM 13 1.6 14 2.5 11 2.3

11

25

-14

38.2

18

14.2

56.6

Norway

-10.8

31.6

G09 DIRECTION OF FORCES IN AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE 15 2.2 13 2.1 17 4.0

17

20

-3

19.4

-1

12.8

56.5

Cyprus

-7.2

36.5

G10 MINIMUM VOLTAGE NEEDED TO PRODUCE X- RAYS 23 2.6 25 3.5 20 4.2

20

20

0

31.7

15

24.8

54.5

Slovenia

4.8

34.5

G11 EFFECT OF ICE MELTING ON WATER LEVEL IN AQUARIUM 5 1.1 6 1.8 4 0.8

4

0

4

14.9

14.9

6

30.3

Switzerland

6

30.3

G13 DOPPLER EFFECT AND MOVING CAR 12 1.7 16 3.0 7 1.9

7

0

7

39.8

39.8

16.5

68.9

Italy

16.5

68.9

G14 PATHS OF ALPHA, BETA, AND GAMMA RAYS THROUGH AN ELECTRIC FIELD 5 1.1 7 2.1 2 0.8

2

0

2

30

30

7.3

59.5

Norway

7.3

59.5

G15 DIRECTION OF ACCELERATION OF A BOUNCING BALL 6 1.2 10 2.1 2 1.1

2

0

2

19.3

19.3

9.6

51.9

Norway

9.6

51.9

G16 EFFECT OF PRESSURE ON WATER LEAKING FROM A BOTTLE 3 1.0 4 1.3 3 1.0

3

0

3

9.9

9.9

3.9

20.5

France

3.9

20.5

G17 DIRECTION OF FORCE DUE CURRENT 12 2.1 11 1.9 12 3.9

12

0

12

31.2

31.2

10.9

48.4

Slovenia

10.9

48.4

G18 ALPHA PARTICLES PASSING THROUGH GOLD 2 0.7 3 1.3 1 0.5

1

0

1

11.5

11.5

2.5

28.1

Germany

2.5

28.1

G19 LENZ’S LAW AND FALLING ALUMINUM RING 1 0.3 1 0.6 . .

0

0

0

16.3

16.3

1.1

42.2

Germany

1.1

42.2

H03 PHOTOELECTRIC EFFECT AND KINETIC ENERGY OF EMITTED ELECTRONS 24 2.4 26 2.7 23 3.1

23

25

-2

41.2

22

25.9

65.2

Norway

0.9

40.2

H04 TENSION OF STRING BETWEEN TWO FALLING OBJECTS 33 2.2 43 3.1 23 2.2

23

25

-2

39.1

19

42.6

52.3

Sweden

17.6

27.3

H06 INDUCED emf IN ROTATING COIL 34 2.1 38 3.4 29 3.1

29

25

5

31.7

9

38.2

40.2

Latvia

13.2

15.2

H07 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEMPERATURE AND PRESSURE WITH CONSTANT VOLUME 15 2.0 20 3.1 9 1.8

9

25

-16

45.4

27

19.9

55.8

Denmark

-5.1

30.8

H08 PATH OF ELECTRONS IN ELECTRIC FIELD 12 1.6 13 2.5 10 1.9

10

20

-10

34

18

13.3

54.7

France

-6.7

34.7

H09 REFRACTION AND VELOCITY OF BLUE LIGHT 19 2.1 23 3.2 15 2.3

15

20

-5

31.9

15

22.7

63.5

Australia

2.7

43.5

H10 VECTOR SUM OF ELECTRIC FORCES 15 1.5 18 2.1 11 1.7

11

25

-14

36.5

15

18.2

56.4

Sweden

-6.8

31.4

H12 PARTICLE MOVEMENT IN A TRANSVERSE WAVE 11 2.0 16 3.5 6 1.7

6

0

6

29.8

29.8

16.1

71.6

Sweden

16.1

71.6

H13 INTERPRETATION OF A FORCE VERSUS DISTANCE GRAPH 7 1.7 10 2.2 3 1.5

3

0

3

42.2

42.2

10

63.6

Germany

10

63.6

H14 EFFECT OF DENSITY ON THE FREEZING OF WATER 2 0.6 3 0.9 1 0.8

1

25

-24

14.6

-14

2.6

39.6

Sweden

-22.4

14.6

H15 DE BROGLIE WAVELGTH OF A MOBILE ELECTRON 7 1.4 7 1.5 7 1.9

7

0

7

24.2

24.2

6.5

74.2

Norway

6.5

74.2

H16 SPEED OF AN ELECTRON TRAVELING THROUGH PERPENDICULAR ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELD 2 0.6 1 0.7 2 1.1

2

0

2

22.4

22.4

1.3

55.2

Norway

1.3

55.2

H17 RESISTANCE OF A SERIES CIRCUIT COMPONENT 2 0.7 2 1.2 1 0.4

1

0

1

19.7

19.7

2.3

48.4

Sweden

2.3

48.4

H18 TELEVISION AS PARTICLE ACCELERATOR 1 0.3 2 0.6 0 0.1

0

0

0

17.2

17.2

1.5

55.9

Germany

1.5

55.9

AVERAGE

-1.1%

22.1%

14.3%

12.3%

40.6%

3.2%

31.5%

 

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