Exploring differences in physics achievements in secondary schools in District Headquarter Skardu Gilgit-Baltistan: Comparisons across gender and school system

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


The topic of disparities in achievement for gender and public and private school systems in different subjects has been in public domain for many years. However, this study had a special interest in physics as it is one of the core subjects of the national curriculum of Pakistan. The purpose of the study was to explore the differences in physics achievement test scores across gender and schools systems in district Skardu Gilgit-Baltistan. Using a cross-sectional survey design, Physics Achievement Test (PAT), developed and validated as part of the study, was directly administered to 358 grade 10 students who were selected randomly from public (n=159) and private (n=199) schools. The selected sample represented boys (n=209) and girls (n=149). Results of the study illustrated that students' overall performance on PAT was only 34% of the total score (35) which was not encouraging. Students' performance in MCQs was better as compared to CRQs. Among PAT four content domains, students scored above overall average only in mechanics. Further, among three levels of cognitions, students demonstrated better skills in applying their knowledge to solve routine problems (i.e. application) as compared to other two levels of cognition (knowledge and reasoning). The study also reported no significant difference in the overall achievements of boys and girls (p > 0.05); however, significant differences in MCQs, content domain of electricity & magnetism and highest level of cognition (reasoning) favored boys. Interesting patterns of differences in students' achievements across gender appeared within public and private schools systems. Girls outperformed boys in public school system (p < 0.05) while the difference favored boys in private school system (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the difference in the achievements across the two systems of schools was in favor of private schools (p < 0.05) all in MCQs, CRQs, content and cognitive domains. This study presents significant insights into students' achievements across gender and schools systems - in the context of secondary school physics achievement - for policy and practice. Physics Achievement Test (PAT) would be a valuable contribution in the literature. Those who want to take the same line of inquiry can adapt PAT to conduct large scale studies.

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