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The Relationship Between Students’ Ability to Model Objects from Assembly Drawing Information and Spatial Visualization Ability as Measured by the PSVT:R and MCT

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Visualization tools, modeling abilities and grading models

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1229.1 - 23.1229.11



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Paper Authors


Theodore J. Branoff North Carolina State University

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Theodore Branoff, Ph.D. is an associate professor at North Carolina State University. He has been an ASEE member since 1987, and he is the immediate past President of the International Society for Geometry and Graphics. Dr. Branoff’s research interests include spatial visualization and the effects of online instruction for preparing technology education 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.

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Modris Dobelis Riga Technical University

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Modris Dobelis, Ph.D.,, Professor, Head of Dep. of Computer Aided Engineering Graphics at the Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia. His research interests are Computer Aided Design in architecture, civil and mechanical engineering. Along with teaching courses in introductory engineering graphics and descriptive geometry he has provided seminars for high school teachers of technical graphics courses. He can be reached by e-mail: or through postal address: Dep. of Computer Aided Engineering Graphics, Riga Technical University, Azenes iela 16/20 - 438, LV-1048, Riga, Latvia.

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The Relationship Between Students’ Ability to Model Objects from Assembly Drawing Information and Spatial Visualization Ability as Measured by the PSVT:R and MCTWith the reduced amount of instructional time for engineering graphics content in manyengineering and technology programs, faculty have expressed concern that students’ ability tovisualize 3D parts from 2D drawings is not being developed as well as in the past. Moreemphasis is being placed on learning the semantics of 3D modeling programs than on visualizing3D objects from 2D drawings. With the increased emphasis on modeling and the decreasedemphasis on interpreting engineering drawings, how well do students correctly model objectswhen given a 2D assembly drawing? How well does their modeling ability correlate with astandard measure of spatial visualization ability?There are many measures of spatial visualization ability. Most studies involving engineeringgraphics students in the United States over the last 30 years have measured this ability using thePurdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R) (Guay, 1978). Whenexamining the international literature related to engineering graphics, the most common measureof spatial ability outside of the United States is the Mental Cutting Test (MCT) (CEEB, 1939).During the Fall 2012 semester a study was conducted in a junior-level constraint-based modelingcourse to determine the relationship between students’ ability to create solid models when givenan assembly drawing and their spatial visualization ability. During the 20th class meeting of thesemester, students were administered the PSVT:R and the MCT. During the very next classmeeting of that week, students were given an assembly drawing and asked to model as many ofthe seven parts as possible during a 110 minute class period. The parts in the assembly ranged incomplexity from a ball to a valve body. Students were given a ruler to measure parts on the B-size drawing and determine sizes of features based on the given scale (2:1). Relationships wereexamined between the PSVT:R, MCT, and the modeling activity. This paper will present theresults of this study and discuss implications for future research in the United States and in othercountries.

Branoff, T. J., & Dobelis, M. (2013, June), The Relationship Between Students’ Ability to Model Objects from Assembly Drawing Information and Spatial Visualization Ability as Measured by the PSVT:R and MCT Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22614

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