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A comparison of spatial ability in first-year and graduating students in a 4-year engineering degree program (WIP)

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2019 Fall Mid Atlantic States Conference


New York, New York

Publication Date

November 1, 2019

Start Date

November 1, 2019

End Date

November 30, 2019

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Maxine Fontaine Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science)

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Maxine Fontaine is a Teaching Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 from Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark. Maxine has a background in the biomechanics of human movement, and she currently teaches several undergraduate courses in engineering mechanics. Her research interests are focused on improving engineering pedagogy and increasing diversity in engineering.

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Spatial ability has been identified as a key indicator of success in an engineering degree program. At our university, we have implemented a first-year program aimed at identifying and helping students with low spatial ability through a spatial skills workshop. Spatial ability of all first-year engineering students is assessed by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Rotations (PSVT:R). Generally students who complete a short 4-week spatial skills workshop see a significant increase in test score, pre- vs. post-workshop. But are these immediate gains in spatial skills retained? Or do spatial skills require constant practice to be maintained? In this study, we are also interested in comparing the PSVT:R scores of first-year and graduating (senior) engineering students in order to determine whether spatial ability improves, remains the same, or worsens over the course of their engineering degree program.

Fontaine, M. (2019, November), A comparison of spatial ability in first-year and graduating students in a 4-year engineering degree program (WIP) Paper presented at 2019 Fall Mid Atlantic States Conference, New York, New York. 10.18260/1-2--33797

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