Energy and Momentum Conceptual Survey (EMCS)

Developed by David Rosengrant and Chandralekha Singh

Purpose To understand the difficulties students have in interpreting the concepts of energy and momentum and in correctly identifying and applying them in different physical situations.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice
Duration 50 min
Focus Mechanics Content knowledge (energy, momentum)
Level Intro college
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Sample questions from the EMCS:

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C. Singh and D. Rosengrant, Multiple-choice test of energy and momentum concepts, Am. J. Phys. 71 (6), 607 (2003).
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Gold Star Validation
This is the highest level of research validation, corresponding to all seven 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 EMCS were developed by first planning the content and complexity to be tested and getting feedback from experts. Questions were then written and student responses to open-ended versions of the questions were collected. These student responses and findings from student interviews were used to create the multiple-choice options, which then underwent further expert review. Appropriate statistical analyses of reliability and discrimination found the EMCS to have good reliability and discrimination. A factor analysis found six factors, but the factors accounted for a very small amount of the variance, so they are not meaningful. The EMCS has been given to over 3000 students at a variety of institutions to students in algebra-based and calculus-based courses. There are three peer-reviewed publications presenting EMCS data.


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Language Translator(s)  
Finnish Antti Savinainen and Kauko Kauhanen
Indonesian Syuhendri Syuhendri
Swedish Adi Bijedic

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Typical Results
Teaching Method Pre-test Score (%) Post-test Score (%) Normalized gain (%)
Traditional, uncategorized (Singh and Rosengrant 2001) 24 to 36 49 ± 18 Unused, due to poor pre-test scores
Traditional, calculus-based (Singh and Rosengrant 2001) 34 52 29
Traditional (Sahin 2010) 43 ± 8.4 54 ± 11 27 ± 18
Problem-Based Learning (Sahin 2010) 48 ± 13 69 ± 12 36 ± 19

The latest version of the EMCS, released in 2001, is version 1.