How student characteristics affect girls' and boys' verbal engagement in physics instruction

Verena Jurik, Alexander Gröschner, Tina Seidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


This study investigated how student characteristics predict the nature of girls' and boys' verbal interactions with their teachers in physics classes. The sample included (N = 1378) students from 81 randomly selected high-school physics classrooms in Germany and the German-speaking part of Switzerland. At the beginning of the school year, the following student characteristics were assessed: cognitive abilities, pre-knowledge, self-concept, and interest. Each student was classified as having one of five profiles previously identified by Seidel (2006). Classroom instruction was videotaped four months after student characteristics were assessed. The videotaped classroom interactions were coded and analyzed with respect to the students' profiles. Multilevel analysis indicated the highest amount of verbal engagement for girls and boys with high-level cognitive and motivational-affective characteristics. There are significant interactions between student profile and gender for girls with high-level characteristics. We argue that the interaction between gender and other characteristics is a valuable predictor of verbal engagement in physics instruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Gender
  • Science education
  • Student characteristics
  • Teacher-student interactions
  • Video study


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