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Using the Foreman effective mass Hamiltonian, the electronic structure of the valence band and the interband dipole matrix elements in InxGa1-xAs-InyGa1-yAszP1-z quantum-well optical amplifiers are calculated, taking into account the valence band mixing and the biaxial strain. The optical field of the amplified pulse is calculated by solving the wave equation with the computed polarization as a source term. A novel wavelet transform is introduced in analyzing the pulse chirp imposed by the optical amplifier. In the linear propagation regime, the spectrum of the amplified pulse can be either red-shifted or blue-shifted with respect to its initial center frequency, depending on the local gain dispersion spanned by the pulse spectrum. The output pulse shape can be retarded or advanced, depending on the local gain and group velocity dispersion. Furthermore, an initially unchirped pulse centered in the tail of the gain spectrum is significantly reshaped after propagating 600 μm, and its spectrum is broadened and distorted considerably. In the spectral region where both gain and group velocity change rapidly, the frequency chirp for a linearly chirped input pulse is significantly weakened after propagation.