In the spring of 2018 the Northern California/Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers was alerted to a local high school’s plans to eliminate physics for the following school year. As part of the campaign to support the school’s efforts to sustain physics in the following year, the physics offerings from the surrounding schools in that district were compiled. It appeared that the demographics of the student population in the district played a role in the number of different physics courses offered within that district, particularly the percentage of Hispanic students (%Hispanic) and percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged (%SED) students at each school. Concerned that this trend was more widespread, we reviewed physics course offerings for Northern California public high schools to determine if there were correlations between the amount of different physics class offerings and these populations. It was found that %Hispanic and %SED are strongly correlated in California public schools and, along with number of students, could be used as statistically significant predictors of a school’s physics offerings.
Schools on Different Corners: An Investigation into the Effects of Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status on Physics Offerings in Northern California Public High Schools
David Marasco, Bree Barnett Dreyfuss; Schools on Different Corners: An Investigation into the Effects of Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status on Physics Offerings in Northern California Public High Schools. Phys. Teach. 1 December 2020; 58 (9): 673–675. https://doi.org/10.1119/10.0002741
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