Force Concept Inventory

The Force Concept Inventory (FCI) is a multiple-choice test designed to assess student understanding of the most basic concepts in Newtonian physics. The FCI can be used for several different purposes, but the most important one is to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. For a full understanding of what has gone into the development of this instrument and of how it can be used, the FCI papers (1,2) should be consulted, as well as: (a) the papers on the Mechanics Diagnostic Test (3,4), the FCI predecessor, (b) the paper on the Mechanics Baseline Test(5) which is recommended as an FCI companion test for assessing quantitative problem solving skills, and (c) Richard Hake’s (6) data collection on university and high school physics taught by many different teachers and methods across the USA.


  1. David Hestenes, Malcolm Wells, & Gregg Swackhamer (1992). Force Concept Inventory. The Physics Teacher, 30 (3), 141-151.

  2. David Hestenes & Ibrahim Halloun (1995). Interpreting the Force Concept Inventory. The Physics Teacher, 33 (8), .

  3. Ibrahim Halloun & David Hestenes (1985). The initial knowledge state of college physics students. American Journal of Physics, 53(11), 1043-1055.

  4. Ibrahim Halloun & David Hestenes (1985). Common sense concepts about motion. American Journal of Physics, 53(11), 1056-1065.

  5. David Hestenes & Malcolm Wells (1992). A Mechanics Baseline Test. The Physics Teacher, 30 (3), 159-166.

  6. Richard Hake (1994, August). Survey of Test Data for Introductory Mechanics Courses. AAPT Announcer, 24(2), 55.

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