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Both high school and university students' reasoning regarding direct current resistive electric circuits often differ from the accepted explanations. At present, there are no standard diagnostic tests on electric circuits. Two versions of a diagnostic instrument were developed, each consisting of 29 questions. The information provided by this test can provide instructors with a way of evaluating the progress and conceptual difficulties of their students. The analysis indicates that students, especially females, tend to hold multiple misconceptions, even after instruction. During interviews, the idea that the battery is a constant source of current was used most often in answering the questions. Students tended to focus on the current in solving problems and to confuse terms, often assigning the properties of current to voltage and/or resistance.
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