Quantum Mechanics Assessment Tool (QMAT)

Developed by Steve Goldhaber and Steven Pollock

The gauge student learning in first semester junior-level quantum mechanics courses, as well as to compare your students skills to those in other universities.
Format Short answer
Duration 50 min
Focus Modern / Quantum Content knowledge (wave functions, measurement, time dependence, probability, infinite square well, 1D tunneling, energy levels)
Level Upper-level
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Sample question from the QMAT:

QMAT Implementation and Troubleshooting Guide

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

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External Resources

The Colorado Science Education Initiative (SEI) and collaborators have developed a wide range of curricular materials for teaching junior-level quantum mechanics, of which the QMAT is only one. Other materials include group activities, clicker questions, and homework.

The SEI QM I page has materials for teaching quantum mechanics using a wave functions first approach.

The Adaptable Curricular Exercises for Quantum Mechanics page has materials for teaching quantum mechanics using a spins first approach.

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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 open-ended questions on the QMAT were developed based on questions from other quantum mechanics assessments, faculty input and observed student difficulties with relevant concepts. Students participated in think aloud interviews about the questions, which were subsequently revised. The QMAT questions were given to over 25 students, and further revised. More student interviews were conducted and experts reviewed the QMAT. The QMAT has been given to over 60 students at one institution and the results published in one peer-reviewed publication.


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Typical Results

Typical results from Goldhaber et. al 2009:

The latest version of the QMAT, released in 2009, is version 3.0. The developers no longer recommend using the QMAT, since it has been replaced with a multiple-choice version, the QMCA.


Quantum Mechanics Concept Assessment

Content knowledge Modern / Quantum (wave functions, measurement, time dependence, probability, infinite square well, 1D tunneling, energy levels, spins)

Related Teaching Method

CU Upper-Level QM Curriculum