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

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C. Baily, M. Dubson, and S. Pollock, Research-Based Course Materials and Assessments for Upper-Division Electrodynamics (E&M II), presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2012, Philadelphia, PA, 2012.
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 website (http://www.colorado.edu/sei/departments/physics_3320.htm) 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; more information on our learning goals can be found on the CU Electrodynamics website: http://per.colorado.edu/Electrodynamics/documents/learninggoals.html

RESEARCH VALIDATION
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.

References

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Typical Results

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


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

Related Teaching Method

CU upper-division E&M curriculum