Asee peer logo

The relationship between persistence, effort, and achievement in a spatial skills training program

Download Paper |


2022 Spring ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Conference


Newark, New Jersey

Publication Date

April 22, 2022

Start Date

April 22, 2022

End Date

April 23, 2022

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


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

visit author page

Maxine Fontaine is a Teaching Associate 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.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The importance of strong spatial visualization skills (SVS) in engineering is well established. Since SVS are rarely specifically taught in the K-12 curriculum, many first-year engineering programs have implemented a spatial skills training program aimed at identifying first-year engineering students with low SVS and giving them the opportunity to gain these critical skills through focused practice. A variety of different implementations of these spatial skills training programs have proven effective in improving spatial ability, ranging from a total training time of 8 hours to over 20 hours. This objective of this study was to determine whether different amounts of training should be prescribed for students based on initial spatial ability, as measured by the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test of Rotations (PSVT:R). Another objective was to determine the minimum level of persistence required during the training to effectively improve spatial visualization skills (SVS). Training amount is measured by the number of problems completed in the Spatial Vis software by eGrove Education, and persistence level is measured by the average stars per problem. Participants are divided into three groups based on initial test score: novices (test score below 60%), intermediates (test score between 60% and 69%) and masters (test score 70% and above). A correlational analysis between training persistence and gains in spatial ability was performed for each group. A weak positive correlation was found for the novice group only. A correlational analysis between training amount and gains in spatial ability was also performed for each group. Strangely, a weak negative correlation was found for the novice group. These results indicate a need to more closely examine the effects of persistence and training amount in smaller, more similar subgroups or more carefully consider how to quantify improvement in spatial ability.

Fontaine, M. (2022, April), The relationship between persistence, effort, and achievement in a spatial skills training program Paper presented at 2022 Spring ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Conference, Newark, New Jersey. 10.18260/1-2--40074

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: © 2022 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