Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
The effect of the Project Lead the Way Program on Students Spatial Visualization Skills(Evaluation)
Research has shown that students with more developed spatial reasoning abilities tend to perform better in their engineering discipline. To investigate this, we assessed the effect of PLTW on students spatial visualization abilities.
In a four year study, students entering into the College of Engineering and IT (COEIT) at Univeristy of who were identified as pre Mechanical, Chemical or Computer Engineering were asked to take the Purdue Spatial Visualization Rotations Test- Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R) exam prior to registering for classes. The assessment asked a few open ended questions, including whether they had gone through a PLTW program in their high school. More specifically, the survey was identifying if they had taken the Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) and/or Principles of Engineering (POE) classes. Doing a comparative analysis using descriptive and inferential statistics, it was found that students who had taken either of the aforementioned PLTW classes performed significantly higher on the PSVT:R exam than students who had not gone through PLTW (p<0.5).
Motivated by the results, a partnership was formed between University of and two high schools with a well-established PLTW program. Using the PSVT:R exam, each high school tested their students spatial visualization skills in their inaugural PLTW classes, POE (n=57) and IED(n=23). Additionally, non-PLTW affiliated students in concurrent math classes with PLTW students (N=80) were given the same spatial visualization assessment (n=103). To ensure thorough comparative analysis, students were asked to specify their current grade in high school and which math class they were currently taking.
Results from this study found revealed the following (statistically significant values were found p<.05 or p<.005 level):
-Females (N=16) and males (N=64) within PLTW programs performed equivalently based on their mean score. -Non PLTW males (N=48) scored significantly higher than non-PLTW females (N=43). -PLTW students (N=80) scored significantly higher than the non-PLTW students (N=103) in the same math classes. -Females, both in IED(n=7) and POE (n=9), scored significantly higher than non-PLTW females (N=43) in the same math classes. -Males in POE (N=48) scored significantly higher than their male counterparts in calculus (N=29).
Findings from this study suggest that students in PLTW programs have more developed spatial reasoning, better positioning them to be successful in higher education.
Gurganus, J. R., & Hill, E., & Spence, A. M. (2018, June), The Effect of the Project Lead the Way Program on Students' Spatial Visualization Skills (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31089
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: © 2018 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