Students' views about experimental physics in a large-enrollment introductory lab focused on experimental scientific practices

Nidhal Sulaiman, Alexandra Werth, H. J. Lewandowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A large-enrollment, introductory physics laboratory course at the University of Colorado Boulder has undergone a recent transformation to help students' develop lab skills and better align students' views and beliefs about experimental physics with those of expert experimental physicists through engagement with authentic scientific practices. We examine the impact of the transformation on women and men in the course and report the effect of this transformation on the students' views and beliefs using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics (E-CLASS) as a measurement tool. We analyze over 3000 student responses from both before and after the transformation for both women and men on overall E-CLASS scores, as well as item-by-item. The results show statistically significant increase in the overall average E-CLASS score after the transformation as compared to that of the course before the transformation regardless of gender. In addition, item-by-item analysis indicates that there are larger gains in a few E-CLASS items, especially those related to the new course learning goals and some of these items are different for women and men. Our results show that students can have different lab experiences depending on their identity, an important aspect that should to be taken into account when designing educational interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number010116
JournalPhysical Review Physics Education Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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