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Brief Electricity and Magnetism Assessment (BEMA)


The BEMA assesses students understanding of concepts in electricity and magnetism.


The BEMA is commonly administered in introductory college electricity and magnetism courses (algebra-based and calculus-based) and is designed to be administered in upper division courses.

Typical Performance

We have not yet evaluated the data collected by the LASSO platform. Results reported in the literature report pretest scores from 23%-33% with an average of 26% and posttest scores from 38%-61% with an average of 50%.

Example question



Ding and colleagues published the BEMA in 2006.

Ding, L., Chabay, R., Sherwood, B., & Beichner, R. (2006). Evaluating an electricity and magnetism assessment tool: Brief electricity and magnetism assessment. Physical review special Topics-Physics education research, 2(1), 010105.


The research conducted with the BEMA is extensive. We recommend using Google Scholar and the citations listed under validation to find articles of interest.

Articles that report pretest and posttest scores include

  • Cahill, M. J., Hynes, K. M., Trousil, R., Brooks, L. A., McDaniel, M. A., Repice, M., … Frey, R. F. (2014). Multiyear, multi-instructor evaluation of a large-class interactive-engagement curriculum. Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, 10(2), 1–19.

  • Kost-Smith, L., Pollock, S., & Finkelstein, N. (2010). Gender disparities in second-semester college physics: The incremental effects of a “smog of bias.” Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, 6(2), 1–17.

  • Kohlmyer, M. A., Caballero, M. D., Catrambone, R., Chabay, R. W., Ding, L., Haugan, M. P., … Schatz, M. F. (2009). Tale of two curricula: The performance of 2000 students in introductory electromagnetism. Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, 5(2), 20105.

  • “A comparison of two researched-based conceptual surveys: CSEM and BEMA”, S. Pollock,Physics Education Research Conference, Edmonton, Ontario Canada, Aug 08, AIP Conf. Proc. 1064, p. 171

Example LASSO Report

Please follow this link to our example report for concept inventories.

Similar Instruments

More Information

For more information, please visit the Physport webpage on the BEMA.