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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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 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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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.