Developed by Sam McKagan, Kathy Perkins, and Carl Wieman
|Purpose||To measure the effectiveness of different teaching methods at improving students’ conceptual understanding of quantum mechanics, and to use such measurements to improve their teaching.|
|Focus||Modern / Quantum Content knowledge (wave functions, probability, wave-particle duality, uncertainty principle, infinite square well, one-dimensional tunneling, energy levels)|
Sample question from the QMCS:
The Colorado Science Education Initiative has developed a wide range of curricular materials for teaching sophomore-level modern physics, of which the QMCS is only one. Please visit the website (http://www.colorado.edu/sei/departments/physics_2130.htm) for other materials such as group activities, clicker questions, and homework.
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
- Student interviews
- Expert review
- Appropriate statistical analysis
- At multiple institutions
- By multiple research groups
- Peer-reviewed publication
The multiple-choice questions on the QMCS were developed based on faculty interviews, a review of textbooks and syllabi, observations of students, and a literature review of known student difficulties. The initial set of questions was refined using student interviews with over 40 students and expert review. Further, the QMCS was given to over 1000 sophomore, junior, and graduate students and appropriate statistical analysis of reliability, difficulty and discrimination were conducted. Reasonable values were found for each. The QMCS has been tested with over 1000 students and results published in two peer-reviewed articles.
- S. McKagan, K. Perkins, and C. Wieman, Design and validation of the Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Survey, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 6 (2), 020121 (2010).
- S. McKagan and C. Wieman, Exploring Student Understanding of Energy through the Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Survey, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2005, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2005.
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Typical scores from McKagan et. al 2010:
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The latest version of the QMCS, released in 2008, is version 2.0. The QMCS has gone through 13 different versions in the process of development, with many questions being eliminated, modified, or added based on research with students.