Chandralekha Singh
University of Pittsburgh
Student understanding of quantum mechanics
We investigate the difficulties that advanced undergraduate and beginning
graduate students have with the material covered in the upper-level
undergraduate quantum mechanics. Our analysis is based upon tests
administered to students from several universities and individual
interviews with some students. We find a number of common difficulties and
analyze the student responses in order to extract their origin. It is
striking that most students shared the same difficulties, given both the
variance in their background and the variety of teaching styles and
textbooks. Analysis suggests that the widespread misconceptions originate
from the tendency to over-generalize concepts learned in one context to
another inappropriate context. We are currently designing and evaluating
interacting tutorials to help improve student understanding of quantum
mechanics.
*Supported in part by NSF DUE #0088906