A profile of the spatial visualisation abilities of first year engineering and science students

Stephanie Farrell, Avril Behan, Gavin Duffy, Rachel Harding, Robert Howard, Aaron MacRaighne, Edmund Nevin, Brian Bowe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The link between spatial visualisation skills and academic and professional achievement in STEM fields is well established. It is also widely documented that men outperform women on tests of spatial ability. This disparity puts women at a relative disadvantage for academic success in STEM disciplines. Our research explores the influence of secondary academic experience on spatial visualisation ability among first year students entering an engineering or science programme. Spatial ability was measured using two standard psychometric instruments for measurement of spatial visualization. Out of eight secondary courses considered, a single course in design and computer graphics emerged as a predictor of spatial ability. Students who took this course had significantly higher scores on both measures of spatial cognition than students who did not take the course. There was no significant difference in test scores of men and women who took the course. A significant gender gap was observed among students who did not take the course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event6th Research in Engineering Education Symposium: Translating Research into Practice, REES 2015 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: Jul 13 2015Jul 15 2015

Other

Other6th Research in Engineering Education Symposium: Translating Research into Practice, REES 2015
Country/TerritoryIreland
CityDublin
Period7/13/157/15/15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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