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Validation of a Conceptual Assessment for E&M II

PERC Proceedings 2014, AIP Press (submitted)

Qing X. Ryan1, Cecilia Astolfi2, Charles Baily2 and Steven J. Pollock1
1Department of Physics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0390, USA
2School of Physics and Astronomy
University of St Andrews
St Andrews KY16 9SS Scotland, UK

Abstract: As part of an ongoing project to investigate student learning in upper-division electrodynamics (E&M II), the PER research group at the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a tool to assess student conceptual understanding: the CURrENT (Colorado UppeR-division ElectrodyNamics Test). The result is an open-ended post-test diagnostic with 6 multi-part questions, an optional 3-question pretest, and an accompanying grading rubric. This instrument is motivated in part by our faculty-consensus learning goals, and is intended to help measure the effectiveness of transformed pedagogy. In addition, it provides insights into student thinking and student difficulties in the covered topical areas. In this paper, we present preliminary measures of the validity and reliability of the instrument and scoring rubric. These include expert validation and student interviews, inter-rater reliability measures, and classical test statistics.

Keywords: physics education research, upper-division electrodynamics, course transformation, assessment.
PACS: 01.40.Fk, 01.40.Di, 01.40.G-, 01.40.gf