An analysis of first-year engineering majors' spatial skill

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Previous studies have indicated females do not score as high on spatial skill assessments as males. However, this investigation found females differed from males on only one spatial assessment. In particular, this study examined the spatial skill level of 433 first-year male and female students enrolled within a college of engineering at a large southeastern university. After gathering and analyzing data from a battery of object manipulation spatial assessments, the findings indicated males and females did not score significantly different from one another on five out of six assessments. A Mann-Whitney U test was conducted to determine whether there was a difference in the mean rank score of males and females on the Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Visualization of Rotations (Revised PSVT: R) test. Results of that analysis indicated that there was a difference, χ2 = 7.99, p <.01 with males scoring higher than females, with an effect size of Cohen's d = 0.53. Males and females were also compared separately across all spatial assessments. A Spearman's rank correlation coefficient matrix was developed to visualize correlations between assessments and gender. Male participants showed significant (mostly) moderate correlations between all tests at the p <.001 level. Moreover, female participants suggested different strengths of correlation and significance across all assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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