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Spatial Visualization Skills At Various Educational Levels

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Visualization and Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1014.1 - 7.1014.10

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Paper Authors

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Jianping Yue

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 2438

Spatial Visualization Skills at Various Educational Levels

Jianping Yue

Department of Engineering Technologies and Computer Sciences Essex County College Newark, New Jersey


Spatial visualization skills are important in engineering graphics and computer-aided design courses, especially in solid modeling, which has gained popularity in recent years. Some research has been done to investigate if visualization skills can be improved through training. The research typically compares the pretest and posttest scores of students taking a graphics or computer-aided design course. However, results usually were not conclusive. This paper presents a comprehensive study on spatial visualization skills at various educational levels. The Purdue Spatial Visualization Test – Rotation was given to high school students, college students at different levels, and high school teachers. The spatial visualization skills among different educational levels were compared. Other possible factors, such as age and gender, were also investigated. Statistical analyses of the data revealed the effects of long term training and general education on the improvement of visualization skills.

1. Introduction

The ability to visualize spatially is generally considered fundamental for graphics apprehension, especially three-dimensional (3D) solid modeling using computer-aided design (CAD) software packages. Thus, it is important to determine the answer to the question: Does training improve spatial visualization ability? Research has not been able to draw a definitive conclusion. Some studies 3, 15, 19 showed that graphics training did improve spatial visualization ability, while other studies 7, 13, 14, 17, 18 showed no evidence of such improvement. The results of some recent studies 17, 18 showed that even though there were no significant differences between average scores on a spatial visualization test, students from higher level classes indeed scored better than those in lower level classes. In light of these results, this study focused on the long-term effects of education and training on spatial visualization abilities by comparing performance at various educational levels. This study also investigated other factors which may affect spatial visualization abilities, such as graphics grades, age, and gender, using larger sample sizes than previous studies.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Yue, J. (2002, June), Spatial Visualization Skills At Various Educational Levels Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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