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To fill the need for a tool testing introductory, undergraduates’ knowledge of basic concepts in electricity and magnetism (EM), the investigator has developed a sixty-six item, multiple-choice diagnostic exam (DEEM). The exam is intended to provide physics instructors with a psychometrically sound instrument that serves three general purposes: (1) gauge students' pre-instructional knowledge (baseline assessment), assess students' post-instructional achievement, and provide scores to determine students’ conceptual learning gains; (2) yield results that are maximally diagnostic to instructors by highlighting students' most common misconceptions and reveling patterns of responses which are easily interpreted by physics instructors; and (3) provide the physics education research community with a tool to measure the relative effectiveness of various curricula. The exam covers the following basic concepts of EM: forces on charged particles in electric or magnetic fields; properties of electric fields and magnetic fields; properties of electrostatic potential and potential energy; Maxwell’s Equations; and induction, with Lenz’s Law. Items comprising the DEEM do not require calculus, explicit calculations, or memorization of fundamental constants; are pictorially based; and generally explore high-symmetry scenarios.
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