Asee peer logo

Spatial Ability Measurement in an Introductory Graphic Communications Course

Download Paper |


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

24.1095.1 - 24.1095.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Walter F. Kelly Jr. North Carolina State University

visit author page

Dr. Walter Kelly, EdD, is a newly minted teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University. He has been a member of ASEE since 2003. Dr. Kelly’s research interests involve the development and application of a hybrid teaching format in an introductory graphics communications course. Additionally, research into spatial ability as it relates to course students in engineering and non-engineering curricula and whether they are considered novice or experienced spatial learners. Prior to teaching at NCSU, he was a department head and instructor at a local community college in the industrial, manufacturing, and plastics engineering technologies for 14 years.

visit author page


Theodore J. Branoff North Carolina State University

visit author page

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 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.

visit author page


Aaron C. Clark North Carolina State University

visit author page

Aaron C. Clark is a Professor of Technology, Design, and Engineering Education within the College of Education and is the Director of Graduate Programs and Associate Department Head for the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education. He has worked in both industry and education. Dr. Clark's teaching specialties are in visual theory, 3-D modeling, technical animation, and STEM-based pedagogy. Research areas include graphics education, game art and design, scientific/technical visualization and professional development for technology and engineering education. He presents and publishes in both technical/technology education and engineering. He has been and continues to be a Principle Investigator on a variety of grants related to visualization and education and has focused his research in areas related to STEM curricula integration. Dr. Clark has been a member of the Engineering Design Graphics Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) since 1995; and has served in leadership roles and on committees for the Division since that time, as well as for the K-12 Outreach Division. He has also served in various leadership roles in disciplines related to Career and Technical Education. Dr. Clark is recognized as a Distinguished Technology Educator by the International Technology Engineering Education Association. He currently consults to a variety of businesses, educational agencies and organizations.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Spatial Ability Measurement in an Introductory Graphic Communications CourseAbstract Research about spatial ability indicated no consensus has been reached onwhich test(s) are considered accurate and the most commonly used in areasassociated with engineering and technical visualization. A literature review ofspatial ability testing produced a list of 24 tests that was used in a survey ofEDGD members to identify their preferred tests. The top three identified testswere the Mental Cutting Test (MCT), Mental Rotations Test (MRT), and PurdueSpatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT: VR). During thespring of 2012, data were collected from three sections of an introductorygraphics course at a large university in the Southeastern United States. Dataincluded scores from the MCT, MRT and PSVT:VR and participant demographicinformation used in this research. This study examined correlations between thethree identified tests, the measurement of spatial ability between novice andexperienced spatial ability learners, and recommendations for further research.The correlation results were positive between spatial tests although varied incorrelation strength (strength of linear association). These results are similar toother reported correlation findings. The spatial learner results show experiencedlearners have higher spatial ability scores on the three spatial ability tests thannovice learners. It is the hope of the researchers that this study will start theinquiry into which visualization tests are best used in determining visualcapabilities for students taking our classes.

Kelly, W. F., & Branoff, T. J., & Clark, A. C. (2014, June), Spatial Ability Measurement in an Introductory Graphic Communications Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23028

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015