Physics Measurement Questionnaire (PMQ)

Developed by Saalih Allie, Andy Buffler, Loveness Kaunda, Bob Campbell, and Fred Lubben

Purpose To probe students understanding of measurement and uncertainty using open-ended sample discussions.
Format Short answer
Duration 30 min
Focus Lab skills (data collection, data processing, data comparison)
Level Intro college
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PMQ Implementation and Troubleshooting Guide

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

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S. Allie, A. Buffler, L. Kaunda, B. Campbell, and F. Lubben, First-Year Physics Students' Perceptions of the Quality of Experimental Measurements, Int. J. Sci. Educ. 20 (4), 447 (1998).
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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 9 content questions or "probes" on the PMQ were based on similar probes from the PACKS study (Lubben and Millar 1994).The PMQ was tested with over 100 students at one university. The coding scheme was developed iteratively by a group of physics education experts. A subset of 20 students were interviewed about their written answers. The PMQ has been used with over 500 students at two universities, and the results are published in four peer-reviewed publications and one dissertation. 


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Typical Results

Summary of coded responses to question 4 (AN probe) from Allie et al. 1998, which contains similar tables of coded results for questions 1, 2, 5, 6, 7. 

The original version of the PMQ, version 1, we released in 1998. There is a newer version of the PMQ, version E, which was released in 2008, eliminates three questions from v1 (questions 4, 7 and 8) and has two new questions, (questions 7 and 8 in vE).