• Pasi NieminenEmail author
  • Antti Savinainen
  • Jouni Viiri


This quantitative case study used a pre- and posttest design for exploring the gender differences in secondary school students’ (n = 131, 45 males and 86 females) learning of the force concept when an interactive engagement type of teaching was used. In addition, students’ ability to interpret multiple representations (i.e., representational consistency) was documented by a pre- and posttest and scientific reasoning ability by a pretest only. Males significantly outperformed females in learning of the force concept, pre- and posttest representational consistency, and pretest scientific reasoning. However, the gender difference in learning of the force concept was not significant when ANCOVA was conducted using pretest results of representational consistency and scientific reasoning as covariates. This appeared to indicate that the gender difference in learning gain was related to students’ abilities before the instruction. Thus, the teaching method used was equally effective for both genders. Further, our quantitative finding about the relation between representational consistency and learning of the force concept supports the assumption that multiple representations are important in science learning.

Key words

conceptual understanding gender force concept multiple representations scientific reasoning 


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Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher EducationUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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