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2010 Summer Meeting

2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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PST2C62:

Surveying Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics
  Location: KFC Courts
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 6:00 PM -6:45 PM
  Author: Guangtian Zhu, University of Pittsburgh
412-251-3716, zhuguangtian@gmail.com
  Co-Author(s): Chandralekha Singh
  Abstract: Development of conceptual multiple-choice tests related to a particular physics topic is important for designing research-based learning tools to reduce the difficulties. We explore the difficulties that the advanced undergraduate and graduate students have with non-relativistic quantum mechanics of one particle in one spatial dimension. We developed a research-based conceptual multiple-choice survey that targets these issues to obtain information about the common difficulties and administered it to more than a hundred students from seven different institutions. The issues targeted in the survey include the set of possible wavefunctions, bound and scattering states, quantum measurement, expectation values, the role of the Hamiltonian, time-dependence of wavefunction and time-dependence of expectation value. We find that the advanced undergraduate and graduate students have many common difficulties with these concepts and that research-based tutorials and peer-instruction tools can significantly reduce these difficulties. The survey can be administered to assess the effectiveness of various intructional strategies. *Supported by NSF
  Footnotes: None
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