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Contrasts in Student Understanding of Simple E&M Questions in Two Countries Documents

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Contrasts in Student Understanding of Simple E&M Questions in Two Countries 

written by Gordon J. Aubrecht, II and Cristian Raduta

We administered a survey on electricity and magnetism to two populations of undergraduate students: one from Ohio State University, the other from Bucharest University (Romania), The survey had two multiple part questions. One question invited use of Gauss's Law in several different region. A bare majority of students could solve the simplest problem, that of the electric field inside a conductor. The other question asked about the force on and trajectory of charged particles in regions of magnetic field. These latter questions rely on understanding the Lorentz force and on transfer of general knowledge from classical mechanics studied earlier. Our results show that mechanics knowledge learned earlier does not transfer to electricity and magnetism. Transfer of learning about electricity and magnetism in both countries as measured by our instrument is less successful than we, as teachers, would have wished.

Published September 1, 2005
Last Modified July 8, 2013

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