Journal Article Detail Page

American Journal of Physics
written by Lincoln D. Carr and Sam B. McKagan
We address four main areas in which graduate quantum mechanics education can be improved: course content, textbook, teaching methods, and assessment tools. We report on a three year longitudinal study at the Colorado School of Mines using innovations in all these areas. In particular, we have modified the content of the course to reflect progress in the field of quantum mechanics over the last 50  years, used textbooks that include such content, incorporated a variety of teaching techniques based on physics education research, and used a variety of assessment tools to study the effectiveness of these reforms. We present a new assessment tool, the Graduate Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Survey, and further testing of a previously developed assessment tool, the Quantum Mechanics Conceptual Survey. We find that graduate students respond well to research-based techniques that have been tested mainly in introductory courses, and that they learn much of the new content introduced in each version of the course. We also find that students' ability to answer conceptual questions about graduate quantum mechanics is highly correlated with their ability to solve calculational problems on the same topics. In contrast, we find that students' understanding of basic undergraduate quantum mechanics concepts at the modern physics level is not improved by instruction at the graduate level.
American Journal of Physics: Volume 77, Issue 4, Pages 308-319
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Instruments
Education Practices
- Curriculum Development
= Course
- Pedagogy
= Instructional Issues
Quantum Physics
- General
- Graduate/Professional
- Instructional Material
= Best practice
- Reference Material
= Article
Categories Intended Users Ratings
- Pedagogy
- Educators
- Researchers
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© 2008 American Association of Physics Teachers
QMCS, conceptual survey, graduate reform, methods, teaching techniques
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 11, 2008 by Roger Wong
Record Updated:
June 24, 2009 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 16, 2008
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AIP Format
L. Carr and S. McKagan, , Am. J. Phys. 77 (4), 308 (2008), WWW Document, (
L. Carr and S. McKagan, Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform, Am. J. Phys. 77 (4), 308 (2008), <>.
APA Format
Carr, L., & McKagan, S. (2008, June 16). Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform. Am. J. Phys., 77(4), 308-319. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
Chicago Format
Carr, Lincoln, and Sam McKagan. "Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform." Am. J. Phys. 77, no. 4, (June 16, 2008): 308-319, (accessed 20 July 2024).
MLA Format
Carr, Lincoln, and Sam McKagan. "Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform." Am. J. Phys. 77.4 (2008): 308-319. 20 July 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Lincoln Carr and Sam McKagan", Title = {Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform}, Journal = {Am. J. Phys.}, Volume = {77}, Number = {4}, Pages = {308-319}, Month = {June}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%A Lincoln Carr %A Sam McKagan %T Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform %J Am. J. Phys. %V 77 %N 4 %D June 16, 2008 %P 308-319 %U %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Carr, Lincoln %A McKagan, Sam %D June 16, 2008 %T Graduate Quantum Mechanics Reform %J Am. J. Phys. %V 77 %N 4 %P 308-319 %8 June 16, 2008 %U

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