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ERIC Number: ED556101
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 268
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-4475-0
Measurement of Spatial Ability in an Introductory Graphic Communications Course
Kelly, Walter F., Jr.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
Published articles on spatial ability can be found in the fields of psychology and graphics education. In the "Engineering Design Graphics Journal" for 1936-1978, six articles concerning visualization (spatial ability) were listed. As published graphics research increased, the journal (1975-1996) listed 28 articles in the visualization heading and 17 articles under other graphics headings. In graphics education literature various spatial ability concepts, called factors, have been identified. Carroll (1993) indicated that the confusion surrounding factors in visual perception is due to a vague understanding of factors and factor names. Students' spatial ability skills are based on their capability to mentally understand, visualize, and manipulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects or their pictorial representation. Currently, there are a large number of available tests that can be used in spatial ability research to study these skills, with no consensus on which test(s) should be preferred. A review of the available spatial ability tests at the "Educational Testing Service," and those mentioned in graphics education research resulted in a list of 24 tests. A survey using this list was sent, via a listserve, to Engineering Design Graphics Division members (EDGD), and they were asked to list and rank their top five preferred tests for spatial research. The top three ranked tests (the Mental Cutting Test, the Mental Rotation Test by Vandenburg and Kuse, and the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations) that was identified was used in this study. An introductory graphic communications course in engineering design graphics (GC 120, Foundations of Graphics) taught at North Carolina State University (NCSU) was the source of subjects' spatial ability test scores and demographic survey information used in this study. Spatial ability tests were administered, at the beginning of the semester, to three (night) GC 120 sections that met once a week for four hours. To minimize student knowledge gain after taking one test from affecting a later test score, each section was given a different sequence of tests. This sequence allowed for the course add-drop process to stabilize the student participant population. Since there was no treatment administered for this study, a post test was not administered at the end of the semester. There were three research questions and an analysis of variance question analyzed in this study that used three spatial ability tests and participant demographic data. The first research question (RQ1) concerned whether correlations existed between the three spatial tests. In the findings, the null hypotheses were rejected and the alternate hypotheses were accepted where correlations were positive. The second research question (RQ2) concerned spatial ability measurements between novice and experienced learners. The results indicated that experienced learners have higher spatial ability test scores on the three tests than novice learners. The third research question (RQ3) concerned the analysis of spatial ability between engineering and non-engineering curriculum learners. The results indicated engineering students have higher spatial ability scores on the three tests than non-engineering students. An analysis of variance was conducted between the four combinations of novice/experienced and engineering/non-engineering students. The results showed no difference across the four combinations of learners on the Mental Cutting Test (MCT) and the Mental Rotations Test (MRT) by Vandenburg and Kuse. However, a difference was found across the four combinations of learners on the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotation (PSVT: R). The section on conclusions in chapter five begins with a discussion of the learning theory adopted to explain how spatial ability learners solve spatial problems and whether the results of this study are in agreement with this learning theory. A review of the spatial ability tests chosen for this study follows with a discussion of what other researchers might consider in their use of these tests. Finally, this section concludes with a discussion of an issue with the spatial test correlation results discussed in chapter four. The discussion on recommendations for further research is divided into three areas. The first area discusses issues regarding the two surveys used in this research, the second area concerns the spatial tests used, and the third area involves spatial learners and curriculum design support for novice students or non-engineering spatial learners. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Vandenberg Mental Rotations Test