TIMSS 12th Grade Physics
Base Score in TIMSS Physics is 476
How can it be explained?
Our textbooks are intentionally full of errors and omissions?
Our teachers really are that bad?
Parents don't care?
Parents adversely influence the education process of their own children?
The exhaustive presence of the internet in schools?
Too much effort wasted to teach minorities?
Steroids, sulfites, MSG, genetically modified food, polyester, and other threats to our youth's health?
Fluroide and chlorine in our water?
Drugs, illicit or otherwise?
Mean Achievement of Top 5% of American Physics Students Lower than Girls in Cyprus
The score of 485 for our top 5% of physics students is only 9 points higher than the TIMSS Physics Base Score of 476 and almost 200 points lower than Sweden's top 5%.
Girls in NSF Physics Programs Scored Lower than Greek Girls
How can it be explained that an American girl who participates in the NSF Physics Programs scores 23 points lower than the TIMSS Physics Base Score of 476, 13 points lower than Greek girls, and 141 points lower than Norwegian boys? How can they consistenly score 23 points LOWER than if they'd just GUESSED?
Girls in AP Physics Programs Score Lower than ALL Boys, and Girls of Sweden, Norway, and Russia
NSF Physics Students Score 49 Points Lower than AP Physics Students
Should there be some solace in the fact that boys in our AP physics programs perform better than boys in our NSF physics programs (543 vs. 494, a 49 point advantage)? Does this make up for the fact that Norwegian girls score 1 point higher (544 vs. 543)? What can the NSF physics programs be teaching our girls that gives them a 50 point disadvantage over girls who participate in AP physics programs (453 vs. 503), a 91 point disadvantage over Norwegian girls (453 vs. 544), and a 136 point disadvantage over Swedish boys (453 vs. 589)?
What can all of these other nations be doing right that NONE of our finest institutions and education methods and ingenious teaching tools and computer-laden laboratories can even begin to compete with their average student who simply takes one physics course?
Actually, Table 8 reports that Canadian students who don't even take physics naturally score 10 points higher (463 vs. 453), Table 9 reports that Latvian students who never do reasoning tasks in their physics lessons score 29 points higher (482 vs. 453), Table 11 reports that almost two thirds of German students never even conduct a laboratory experiment yet score 62 points higher (515 vs. 453), and Table 12 reports that the 9 out of ten Norwegian who never even uses a computer to solve problems scores 130 points higher (583 vs. 453). In fact, in Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Latvia, Russia, and Slovenia, a student who never uses a computer scores consistently higher than students in his own country who use a computer in "most lessons", none of them score lower than 453, and most score higher than 500.
So exactly what does a score of 453 represent? Certainly not a researcher who's going to knock your socks off, much less develop something, much less understand the depths of their own ignorance. What can be gained by giving them a computer? If you said "nothing" you would have to ignore Table 12 which shows that giving students a computer in Canada reduced their physics achievement skills by 16 points, in Cyprus by 30 points, in Greece by 31 points, and in Latvia by 16 points. Giving them a computer improves nothing and apparently just makes them worse physics students with a very high opinion of themselves.
High Math and Science Literacy of NSF Physics Students
These extremely low physics achievement scores are shocking in the face of their very high math and science literacy scores which prove that they have been taught, have learned, and have remembered, key physics and math principles. Why then are NSF students uniformly so incapable of applying those principles, scoring even lower than Canadians who don't even major or take physics? Table A3 reports that their math literacy scores are 52 points higher than Norway (580 vs. 528), and Table A4 reports that their science literacy scores are 51 points higher than Norway (595 vs. 544), so it's perplexing that the physics achievement scores of Norway would be 106 points higher (581 vs. 475), AND that Norwegian boys would score 141 points higher than NSF girls (594 vs. 453)
TIMSS Physics Scores Increase 5 Points for Each 1 Point Increase in the Gender Gap
Table 12 illustrates that in France, the US, Cyprus, NSF Physics Students, Latvia, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Sweden, and Norway, the TIMSS Physics scores of 12th grade boys increase 5 points for each 1 point increase in the gender gap (that is, the difference between boys' and girls' TIMSS physics scores):
TIMSS Physics Score of 476 Represents Zero Reasoning Skills
Let's analyze this problem from a "liberal's perspective
"This makes the assumption that those who know nothing guess randomly. IN
This false, hypocritical statement summarizes what it is about "liberals" educated in the US public "school" system that makes them so ignorant of the world they live in and the life's philosophy of our Founding Forefathers who made this a once-great country. The inability and unwillingness of "liberals" to grasp some of the most basic concepts can probably never be changed, no matter how much this nation spends for "education". They are in fact living proof that doubling the cost of education from 4% to 8% of GDP is most likely a major reason SAT scores plunged 98 points, the US scored dead last in 17 of 34 TIMSS subjects, and American 12th grade girls scored lower on one third of the multiple choice questions than if they'd just guessed.
Is it even possible that there may be some truth to the statement: "Indeed, we know that they do not ... guess randomly when faced with a test question they do not understand"?
No, there is not. When American girls failed to correctly answer so many multiple choice questions, and when the test results show that they did not omit the question and did provide at least some kind of a response, then we know that they guessed at many of the answers. Is it possible that their guesses were not random?
The only evidence that they didn't guess randomly on many questions is the fact that they scored lower on one third of the TIMSS physics questions than if they had just guessed randomly. This means that there was some factor that influenced them to answer the questions wrong, so their answers cannot be considered to be random. Whether this is because they were taught the wrong thing in the classroom (even though the boys sitting right next to them were taught the right thing), or because they believed the myth about "women's intuition" and decided to rely on this rather than answer the question based on what they were taught, is irrelevant. The fact is that being so consistent in selecting the wrong answer on this third of the test is the only evidence we have that they didn't guess randomly.
Of the 38 physics questions for which the answers were made available to the public, the amount by which girls scored higher than if they had just guessed was statistically significant on 17 of them, the amount by which they scored higher or lower than if they had just guessed was not statistically significant on 12 of them, and the amount by which they scored lower than if they had just guessed was statistically significant on 9 of them.
Of the 17 questions or 45% of the test where the amount by which they scored higher than if they'd just guessed and their responses were statistically significant, they scored significantly lower than boys on 9 (24% of the test), significantly higher on 1 (2.6% of the test), and the difference between boys and girls was not statistically significant on 7 of them (18% of the test). Of the 12 questions or 32% of the test where their response was not statistically significant, they scored significantly lower than boys on 4 and the difference was not statistically significant on 8 of them. Of the 9 questions or 24% of the test where the amount by which they scored significantly lower than if they'd just guessed, they scored significantly lower than boys on 8 and significantly higher than boys on 1.
On some questions there may have been a clue that caused them to select one answer over the other, so it could be argued that guesses on some other questions were also not random. But when their responses were not statistically significant on almost a third of the test, or 32% of the questions, we know that at least ONE question didn't provide any clues like this, which would mean that the only way they were able to provide a response was to guess randomly, which makes this statement false. It's highly likely that their responses to all 12 questions were based solely on random guesses, which means that we know that they DID "guess randomly", not that they did not.
Because their responses were lower than if they'd just guessed or were not statistically significant on 21 questions, the results of this 55% of the test cannot be used to assess their skills.
And still, only 14% of American women think men are more intelligent than women? Where's their evidence?
The following Table summarizes the answers to the 38 TIMSS Physics problems for which the original problems are described. The first column is the Question Number, the second column describes whether the question was a multiple choice problem or not, the third column is the percent of girls who scored higher than if they'd just guessed on the multiple choice questions, the fourth column is whether or not this difference was statistically significant and by what percentage it exceeded the 3% standard error, the fifth column is by what percentage boys scored higher than girls (or with negative numbers, by what percentage girls scored higher than boys), and the sixth column is whether or not this difference was statistically significant and by what percentage it exceeded the 3% standard error.
For example, Question G10 was a multiple choice question where 4.7% of the girls scored lower than if they'd just guessed. After subtracting the 3% standard error, it was statistically significant that 1.7% of them scored lower than if they'd just guessed. 4.5% more boys than girls got this question correct, and 1.5% of their responses were statistically significant. Question H01 was a multiple choice question where girls scored 17% higher than if they'd just guessed, 4.1% more girls than boys got this question correct, and the amount by which this difference was statistically significant was 1.1%. It was the only question which was statistically significant and where girls scored higher than if they'd just guessed where the amount by which girls scored higher than boys was statistically significant. This was a memorization question. On none of the questions which involved calculations did girls score higher than boys:
Download spreadsheet from timssboysgirlscorrect.xls
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 LENZS 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:
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:
43% of American girls correctly answered Item G6, demonstrating that they were taught and were able to remember this basic physics principle:
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:
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:
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:
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:
7% of girls vs. 40% of boys answered Item G13 correctly:
1% of girls vs. 11.5% of boys answered G18 correctly: