Measurement Uncertainty Quiz (MUQ)

Developed by Duane Deardorff and Robert Beichner

Purpose To discuss measurement uncertainty concepts with students, and why one answer might be better than the others.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice
Duration 15 min
Focus Lab skills (calculating error from measurements, accuracy and precision, sources of error)
Level Intro college
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Sample questions from the MUQ:

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D. Deardorff, Introductory Physics Students' Treatment of Measurement Uncertainty, Ph.D. , North Carolina State University, 2001.
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

This quiz is not a standardized diagnostic instrument and has not been tested for reliability and validity. The subject of measurement uncertainty does not lend itself well to a right/wrong test, so even experts may disagree about which answers are "right" on such a test. These questions are a sample of the open-ended questions that were given to approximately 100 introductory physics students and 30 experts (graduate physics students and teachers). The questions were iteratively revised based on the results of student interviews and expert reviews. The most common responses were been edited and included in the MUQ as the multiple-choice options. This quiz is most valuable as an opportunity for discussion with students about why one answer might be better than the others.


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Typical Results

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The latest version of the MUQ, released in 2001, is version 1.