Diagnostic Exam for Introductory, Undergraduate Electricity and Magnetism (DEEM)

Developed by Jeffrey Marx and Jack Wilson

Purpose To assess students’ understanding of the basic of electricity and magnetism, measure progress of individual students, relate responses to misconceptions, and gauge the effectiveness of teaching styles.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice
Duration 50 min
Focus Electricity / Magnetism Content knowledge (electric fields and force, magnetic fields and forces, electrostatic potential, Maxwell's equations, induced currents)
Level Intro college

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Sample questions from the DEEM:

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Silver Validation
This is the second highest level of research validation, corresponding to at least 5 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 multiple-choice questions on the DEEM were developed based on student interviews, expert input, instructional objectives, literature review and observations of students. Questions were refined through expert review, additional student interviews and analysis of student performance on the test. Appropriate statistical analyses of reliability, difficulty, discrimination and internal consistency were conducted, and values found to be above acceptable thresholds. Analysis of possible gender bias was also conducted, and the questions on the DEEM are not biased overall. The DEEM has been used with over 600 students at one institution. Results are published in a doctoral thesis.

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Typical Results

The average score on Version 3.0 of the DEEM was 24 (± 8.0) on the pre-test and 37 (± 9.1) on the post-test out of 70. The percent gain is 27.2%. The most recent version is Version 4.0, but typical scores are not available for this version. (Marx, 1998

The latest version of the DEEM, released in 1998, is version 4.0.