University of Maine
Physics Education Research Laboratory

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Quicklinks are in the sidebar (at right). Scroll down for more information on classroom materials and analysis tools.


Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials

Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials are modeled after the University of Washington Tutorials in Introductory Physics (L.C. McDermott, P.S. Shaffer, and the Physics Education Group at the U. of Washington (Prentice Hall, 2002)) and the Activity-Based Tutorials (M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, E.F. Redish, and the University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group (Wiley, 2004 and 2005)). They are designed to help students in intermediate mechanics develop conceptual understanding of the physics, learn to use mathematical reasoning as a shorthand for conceptual reasoning, and build a coherent understanding of intermediate mechanics. More information here:

Intuitive Quantum Physics

A set of materials developed to help non-science majors develop insight into waves, probability, and energy as a way of understanding basic yet far-reaching concepts in quantum physics. In a one semester, "general education" course, students can develop ideas about spectroscopy, models of molecules, and quantum tunneling as applied to scanning tunneling microscopy and radiation. More information here:

Activity-Based Tutorials

The Activity-Based Tutorials are commercially available "tutorial" instruction materials designed for algebra- and calculus-based physics classes. They come in two parts:

Additional information can be found at:

Modeling laboratories

Modeling laboratories have been created for high school and introductory physics classes at the university level. The modeling method of instruction was created by David Hestenes at Arizona State University.

Tutorials in algebra-based introductory physics classes

University of Washington style tutorials have been created for university level instruction in algebra-based classes. These materials are based on the Tutorials in Introductory Physics, published by Prentice Hall and written by Lillian McDermott, Peter Shaffer, and the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington.


Analysis Tools and Instructional Materials

Test analysis tools: FMCE template | MPEX template | ECCE template | HTCE template | Wave Diagnostic test

The UMaine PERL has created a variety of materials that are available for instructors. Some are freely available on the World Wide Web, while others are commercially available. For more information, please contact Michael Wittmann and refer to the descriptions and links below.

Standardized Test Analysis Tools

Tools for analyzing common standardized tests

Though standardized tests are commonly given and used in assessment (e.g. in pre and post instruction evaluation to measure normalized gains in student learning), no standard tools exist for scoring the tests. We are posting our tools for general use. These are MS Excel spreadsheets, and semi-complete instructions on how to use the spreadsheets are included with the files. Download the files below to your machine for further use. Guidelines on use and distribution are included with each document.

(These are zip files which unzip into Excel templates (.xlt) . For users having difficulty unzipping these files, Aladdin's Stuffit for Mac or for Windows is an excellent resource. Some users may have to right-click or option-click (on a Mac) to save these files to their hard drive.)

Wave Diagnostic Test

The Wave Diagnostic Test was developed as part of Michael Wittmann's dissertation work at the University of Maryland. It is provided here in pdf format for those interested in using it in their classrooms. Note that a fundamental part of the test is the existence of identical questions asked in both free response and multiple choice formats. Detailed data about student thinking can be found when analyzing these questions (see Michael Wittmann's dissertation for more information).

Department of Physics and Astronomy
College of Education and Human Development
Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research

Contact Information

Michael C. Wittmann
John R. Thompson
Department of Physics and Astronomy
5709 Bennett Hall
University of Maine
Orono ME 04401-5709
tel: Michael C. Wittmann: 207 - 581 - 1237
tel: John R. Thompson: 207 - 581 - 1030
fax: 207 - 581 - 3410