Quantum Mechanics Visualization Instrument (QMVI)

Developed by Erdat Cataloglu and Richard Robinett

Purpose To probe the development of students’ conceptual understanding of core topics in quantum mechanics across the undergraduate curriculum, especially their visualization skills.
Format Multiple-choice, Short answer
Duration 120 min
Focus Modern / Quantum Content knowledge (wave functions, probability, infinite square well, 1D tunneling, time dependence, momentum space, 2D potentials, visualization of the relationship between potentials and wave functions)
Level Graduate, Upper-level, Intermediate
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Sample question from the QMVI:

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RESEARCH VALIDATION
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 QMVI were developed based on the results of a survey of topics common to modern physics and junior-senior level quantum mechanics courses and comparison of these topics to those in commonly used textbooks. The topics were reviewed by experts and then questions were written for each topic. The initial version of the QMVI was given to over 60 students and appropriate statistical analyses of difficulty, reliability and discrimination were conducted. The questions were revised and given to a new group of over 40 students. The questions were then reviewed by experts and again revised. Statistical analyses of reliability and difficulty were conducted again, and the test was found to be reliable and slightly difficult. The QMVI has been given to over 200 students and results are published in one peer-reviewed article and one dissertation.

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Typical Results

Percent correct +/- standard deviation on version 0.4 of the QMVI for five different courses at one university, from Robinett and Cataloglu 2002


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The latest version of the QMVI, released in 2000, is version 0.4. Earlier versions were revised based on feedback from physics faculty and analysis of students' written responses.