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Physical Review Physics Education Research
written by Benjamin P. Schermerhorn, Homeyra R. Sadaghiani, Anise E. Mansour, Steven J. Pollock, and Gina Passante
As part of ongoing research on student thinking about quantum mechanical concepts and formalism, we explored how students defined and made sense of expectation values. Previous research has focused on student difficulties when defining the expectation value for a generic operator and found that students conflate other quantum mechanical ideas with expectation values. In this study, we analyzed survey data collected from two universities over a number of years and interviews carried out at two points during the semester. With a focus on underlying student thinking, we used a concept image perspective to categorize students' concept definitions of the expectation values in the context of measuring spin in a spin-1/2 system and in the contexts of measuring energy and position for a particle in an infinite square well potential. Analysis of interview data showed that students invoke many different ideas when explaining their reasoning. The two most common definitions for the expectation value were weighted average and most probable value. In interviews, students' definitions were influenced by whether the problem context involves continuous or discrete observables.
Physical Review Physics Education Research: Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 020141
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Problem Solving
= Frameworks
= Processes
- Research Design & Methodology
= Data
= Evaluation
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
General Physics
- Physics Education Research
Quantum Physics
- General
- Upper Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
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License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Rights Holder:
American Physical Society
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141
NSF Numbers:
DUE
1626280
DUE
1626594
DUE
1626482
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 28, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
January 25, 2022 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 3, 2021
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AIP Format
B. Schermerhorn, H. Sadaghiani, A. Mansour, S. Pollock, and G. Passante, , Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (2), 020141 (2021), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141).
AJP/PRST-PER
B. Schermerhorn, H. Sadaghiani, A. Mansour, S. Pollock, and G. Passante, Impact of problem context on students’ concept definition of an expectation value, Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17 (2), 020141 (2021), <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141>.
APA Format
Schermerhorn, B., Sadaghiani, H., Mansour, A., Pollock, S., & Passante, G. (2021, December 3). Impact of problem context on students’ concept definition of an expectation value. Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res., 17(2), 020141. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141
Chicago Format
Schermerhorn, B, H. Sadaghiani, A. Mansour, S. Pollock, and G. Passante. "Impact of problem context on students’ concept definition of an expectation value." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17, no. 2, (December 3, 2021): 020141, https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141 (accessed 16 June 2024).
MLA Format
Schermerhorn, Benjamin P., Homeyra Sadaghiani, Anise E. Mansour, Steven Pollock, and Gina Passante. "Impact of problem context on students’ concept definition of an expectation value." Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 17.2 (2021): 020141. 16 June 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Benjamin P. Schermerhorn and Homeyra Sadaghiani and Anise E. Mansour and Steven Pollock and Gina Passante", Title = {Impact of problem context on students’ concept definition of an expectation value}, Journal = {Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res.}, Volume = {17}, Number = {2}, Pages = {020141}, Month = {December}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Benjamin P. Schermerhorn %A Homeyra Sadaghiani %A Anise E. Mansour %A Steven Pollock %A Gina Passante %T Impact of problem context on students' concept definition of an expectation value %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 2 %D December 3, 2021 %P 020141 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Schermerhorn, Benjamin P. %A Sadaghiani, Homeyra %A Mansour, Anise E. %A Pollock, Steven %A Passante, Gina %D December 3, 2021 %T Impact of problem context on students' concept definition of an expectation value %J Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. %V 17 %N 2 %P 020141 %8 December 3, 2021 %U https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.17.020141


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