Comparing Science and Engineering Students Using the Force Concept Inventory in Introductory Physics Courses

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This work is intended to analyze and compare the performances of two groups of students on the understanding of force and motion concepts using the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). The FCI test serves questions on basic Newtonian concepts where the answers include the correct response and commonly misconceived alternatives. The FCI test was implemented twice as pre and post-tests for two introductory calculus-based physics courses offered at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in Oman for students mainly from the Colleges of Science, Education and Agriculture and the students from the College of Engineering in the Spring 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters. These courses cover the traditional first-year level kinematics and dynamics in translational and rotational motions based on the same syllabus and the same textbook. Hake’s normalized gain, defined as the change in class averages divided by the maximum possible increase, was used to compare the students’ performances. The normalized gains for both groups of students were in the low gain category. Female students in both courses performed better on the FCI in general, but the difference was only statistically significant in the course offered to science students.
Original languageEnglish
Article number26(1)
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages8
JournalSQU Journal of Science
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Force concept inventory (FCI); Gender; Physics and engineering education research and Hake’s normalized gain.
  • Hake’s normalized gain.
  • Physics and engineering education research

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