Supporting the development of spatial visualization in middle grade and high school students

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© 2014 by Begell House, Inc. Well-developed spatial skills have been shown to be important for success in a number of technological fields, including engineering. The goal of the study was, first, to determine if there is a gender gap in spatial skills in middle and high school students; and second, to find out if training using materials designed for college students could improve students’ performance and reduce the gender gap, if it was found. A quasi-experimental design was used with a pre-and post-test and a control group. The subjects were 263 middle school and 193 high school students. Spatial visualization skills were assessed using a 40-item test made up of four subscales. An equal number of items was sampled from the Middle Grades Mathematics Project Spatial Visualization Test, the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Rotations PSVT:R test, the Differential Aptitude Test: Space Relations (DAT:SR), and the Mental Cutting Test (MCT). The results indicated that the training improved the performances of both male and female students in some components of the assessed skills. The gender gaps that were found in the pre-test data and in the analysis of pre-post gains were in favor of males.

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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering