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Relationship Between Students’ Spatial Visualization Ability and their Ability to Create 3-D Constraint-based Models from Various Types of Drawings

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Spatial Ability & Visualization Training I

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1038.1 - 24.1038.14



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Paper Authors


Theodore J. Branoff North Carolina State University

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Ted Branoff, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the department of STEM Education at North Carolina State University. He has been an ASEE member since 1987 and is the immediate past President of the International Society for Geometry and Graphics. Dr. Branoff’s research interests include spatial visualization in undergraduate students, 3D constraint-based modeling strategies, and the effects of online instruction for preparing teachers and engineers. Along with teaching courses in introductory engineering graphics, computer-aided design, descriptive geometry, and instructional design, he has conducted CAD and geometric dimensioning & tolerancing workshops for both high school teachers and industry. In 2013 he was elected as an ASEE Fellow.

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Modris Dobelis Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia

visit author page, Professor, Head of Dep. of Computer Aided Engineering
Graphics at the Riga Technical University. His research interests are Computer Aided Design in architecture, civil and mechanical engineering. He can be reached by e-mail: or through postal address: Dep. of Computer Aided Engineering Graphics, Riga Technical University, Azenes iela 16/20, LV-1048, Riga, Latvia.

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Relationship Between Students’ Spatial Visualization Ability and their Ability to Create 3D Constraint- Based Models from Various Types of DrawingsEngineering graphics educators have been studying the constraint-based modeling strategies ofstudents for approximately 20 years. These studies include students’ modeling strategies,methods of evaluating models, and conceptual framework research. A recent series of studiesinvestigated students’ ability to model parts when given assembly drawing information. Theseinvestigations revealed that the developed modeling test had mixed results when examiningrelationships with measures in the course (e.g., final project and final exam). These studies alsoexamined whether students’ modeling ability was related to their spatial visualization ability.There were positive correlations between the PSVT:R and the modeling test (not all weresignificant) and significant positive correlations between the MCT and the modeling test.Recommendations included repeating the study using a shorter modeling activity, examining amore efficient way of evaluating the models, and conducting qualitative methods for evaluatingstudent modeling strategies.During the fall of 2013, a study was conducted where students completed the PSVT:R and theMCT and then were asked to complete three different modeling tasks. These tasks includedmodeling a part when given an isometric pictorial of the object, modeling a part when given theobject in the context of an assembly drawing, and finally modeling a part when given a detaildrawing of the object. Research questions for this study include the following: Does a simplerrubric provide similar scores as the previous rubric? Is there a relationship between a student’sspatial visualization ability and their ability to model a part from a pictorial, assembly drawing ordetail drawing? Is the MCT still a better predictor of a student’s modeling success than thePSVT:R? This paper will report the results of this study as well as give recommendations forfuture research.

Branoff, T. J., & Dobelis, M. (2014, June), Relationship Between Students’ Spatial Visualization Ability and their Ability to Create 3-D Constraint-based Models from Various Types of Drawings Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22971

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