Colorado UppeR-division ElectrodyNamics Test (CURrENT)

Developed by Charles Baily, Michael Dubson, and Steven J. Pollock

Purpose To assess fundamental skills and understanding of core topics from advanced undergraduate electrodynamics.
Format Pre/post, Short answer
Duration Pre: 15 min, Post: 50 min
Focus Electricity / Magnetism Content knowledge (vector calculus, complex exponentials, time-dependent Maxwell equations, Ohm's law, conservation of charge and energy, electromagnetic plane wave, transmission & reflection)
Level Upper-level
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Sample question from the CURrENT:

CURrENT Implementation and Troubleshooting Guide

Everything you need to know about implementing the CURrENT in your class.

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C. Baily, Q. Ryan, C. Astolfi, and S. Pollock, Conceptual assessment tool for advanced undergraduate electrodynamics, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 13 (2), 020113 (2017).
External Resources

The Colorado Science Education Initiative has developed a wide range of curricular materials for teaching junior-level electrodynamics, of which the CURrENT is only one. Please visit the course website for other materials such as group activities, clicker questions, and homework. The CuRrENT questions were written to reflect both the broad and topic-specific learning goals expressed by experienced faculty; see details of the CU Electrodynamics learning goals.

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Bronze Validation
This is the third highest level of research validation, corresponding to at least 3 of the validation categories below.

Research Validation Summary

Based on Research Into:

  • Student thinking

Studied Using:

  • Student interviews
  • Expert review
  • Appropriate statistical analysis

Research Conducted:

  • At multiple institutions
  • By multiple research groups
  • Peer-reviewed publication

The free-response questions on the CURrENT were developed based on previously established learning goals, expert input, and common student difficulties. Questions were refined through student interviews and analysis of student performance on the test. The CURrENT has been given to over 30 students at 2 institutions. The results are published in one peer-reviewed publications.


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Typical Results

Typical Scores on the CuRrENT from Baily, Dubson, and Pollock 2012:

The latest version of the CURrENT, released in summer 2014, is version 5.0.