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Why do boys do better than girls on (most) physics tests?

26 June 2018
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Tyree Room, John Niland Scientia Building
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A Scientia Education Academy public lecture

What can we do about girls and women being under-represented in STEM subjects at all levels from high school to postgraduate studies? 

The repercussions for society are both social and economic; girls are not accessing career options that may empower them and industry is not accessing a large talent pool. Factors such as socio-cultural effects, teaching and assessment practices have been identified as important. For us, as teachers, it is difficult to address the first of these factors. But we can change the way we teach and assess to make the system more equitable. 

Dr Kate Wilson from the School of Engineering & IT, UNSW Canberra will share the findings from analysing and identifying patterns in test data from both secondary and tertiary students in India and Australia. She will reveal characteristics of test questions which lead to consistent large gender gaps and problematic marking procedures, and introduce teaching strategies designed to minimise these gaps. 

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Inspiring Educational Excellence

UNSW's Scientia Education Academy Lecture Series highlights the innovative educational practices of our outstanding educators. Join them for this conversation to hear about their particular approaches to enhancing the educational experiences and outcomes of students, as well as their personal career journey. 

For more information about our outstanding educators, visit our website here
 

Speakers
Dr Kate Wilson

Dr Kate Wilson

Fellow, UNSW Scientia Education Academy

Dr Kate Wilson is a senior lecturer and Scientia Education Fellow at UNSW Canberra (@ADFA) in the School of Engineering and IT, and the Learning and Teaching Group (LTG).

Kate teaches Engineering Mechanics, The Graduate Teaching Training Program (Beginning To Teach) and Foundations of University Learning and Teaching. Kate has a PhD in physics from Monash University and a Grad.Dip.Ed. (Secondary Teaching) from the University of Canberra. She has been first year coordinator in physics at the ANU and Director of the Australian Science Olympiads Physics Program. She is a past member of the Sydney University Physics Education Research Group and has held an Innovative Teaching and Educational Technology Fellowship at UNSW (Kensington). 

Kate does research on student learning in physics, on first year transition, and on gender and assessment in science. She has published many journal and conference papers, and been an invited keynote speaker at the Australian Institute of Physics conference, and symposia at ANU and Swinburne. Kate is an author of five textbooks for high school and university physics. The high school texts are used across Australia and support the new Australian Curriculum. The first year university text, in its second edition, is used internationally. These books are informed by current education research, including Kate’s own research into learning in physics. 

Kate also runs a popular primary school science enrichment program, which uses hands-on activities including building marshmallow canons and dissecting rats to teach fundamental ideas in science.