Introductory courses in classical physics are promoting in students a realist perspective, made up in part by the belief that all physical properties of a system can be simultaneously specified, and thus determined at all future times. Such a perspective can be problematic for introductory quantum physics students, who must develop new framings of epistemic and ontological resources in order to properly interpret what it means to have knowledge of quantum systems. We document this evolution in student thinking in part through pre/post instruction evaluations using the CLASS attitude survey. We further characterize variations in student epistemic and ontological commitments by examining responses to an essay question, coupled with responses to supplemental quantum attitude statements. We find that, after instruction in modern physics, many students are still exhibiting a realist perspective in contexts where a quantum perspective is needed. We also find that this effect can be significantly influenced by instruction, where we observe variations for courses with differing learning goals.


  • Mathematics > General
  • Education > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9


ontological commitments,NSDL,Education Foundations,Undergraduate (Lower Division),educational aids,epistemic commitments,Higher Education,measurement,Mathematics,Physics Education Research,PhET simulations,General Physics,scientific information systems,Graduate/Professional,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20081005193427509T,Student Characteristics,learning (artificial intelligence),quantum mechanics,Computing and Information,quantum theory,Affect,CLASS,PERC 2008,Undergraduate (Upper Division),Cognition,Life Science,research and development management,Physics education research,Chemistry,Physics,Cognition Development,Foundations and Measurements,engineering education,educational courses,General,Engineering,Quantum Physics,NSDL_SetSpec_439869,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Education,Technology



Access Privileges:

Public - Available to anyone

License Deed:

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike


This resource has not yet been aligned.
Curriki Rating
'NR' - This resource has not been rated
'NR' - This resource has not been rated

This resource has not yet been reviewed.

Not Rated Yet.

Non-profit Tax ID # 203478467