Electricity and Magnetism Conceptual Assessment (EMCA)

Developed by Darren L. Broder, Michele W. McColgan, and Rose A. Finn

Purpose To assess basic concepts in introductory E&M courses, using terms that are familiar to students on the pre-test and without overly difficult questions that might discourage students from pursuing physics.
Format Pre/post, Multiple-choice
Duration 45 min
Focus Electricity / Magnetism Content knowledge (electrostatics, electric fields and force, circuits, magnetism, induction)
Level Intro college
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Sample questions from the EMCA:

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M. McColgan, R. Finn, D. Broder, and G. Hassel, Assessing students’ conceptual knowledge of electricity and magnetism, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 13 (020121), (2017).
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 multiple-choice questions on the EMCA were developed by a group of five faculty members based on their experience teaching the relevant topics. The EMCA was given to over 200 algebra-based and calculus-based second-semester introductory physics students, and appropriate statistical analyses of reliability, difficulty and discrimination were conducted. Reasonable values were found. Scores for men and women were similar.


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Language Translator(s)  
Indonesian Riska Meikana Br Ginting, Syuhendri, and Nely Andriani

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Typical Results

EMCA scores for algebra-based and calculus-based second semester introductory physics courses at a small liberal arts college. Hake score is the normalized gain. 

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The latest version of the EMCA, released in 2015, is version 1.

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