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Student Perspectives in Quantum Physics Documents

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Student Perspectives in Quantum Physics 

written by Charles Baily and Noah D. Finkelstein

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.

Published October 20, 2008
Last Modified May 21, 2009

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