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Journal for Geometry and Graphics 09 (2005), No. 1, 107--117
Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2005

Evaluation of Students' Spatial Abilities in Austria and Germany

Emiko Tsutsumi
School of Social Information Studies, Otsuma Women's University, 2-7-1 Karakida, Tama, Tokyo 206-8540, Japan

Hans-Peter Schroecker
Inst. Technische Mathematik, Geometrie und Bauinformatik, Universitšt Innsbruck, Technikerstr. 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Hellmuth Stachel
Inst. Discrete Mathematics and Geometry, University of Technology, Wiedner Hauptstr. 8-10/104, 1040 Vienna, Austria

Gunter Weiss
Inst. of Geometry, University of Technology, Zellescher Weg 12-14, Willersbau B 119, 01062 Dresden, Germany

The Mental Cutting Test was administered as a pre- and post-course test by students in Austrian and German universities. In these countries, almost half of all students start learning Descriptive Geometry when they are around thirteen years old. The subject groups were five Descriptive Geometry courses at universities in Austria and Germany. One reference group in Austria was also examined as a control. Among the five courses, students in two courses already had experience in fundamental Descriptive Geometry learning at the beginning of the course. The results were as follows:
(1) There were statistically significant differences between males and females in almost all groups except one.
(2) Apparent significant differences were observed between experienced and non-experienced groups.
(3) The problem solving process suggested the possibility that through the Descriptive Geometry education not only the intuitive spatial recognition ability, but also some logical thinking ability might be progressed, because experienced groups solved some of the difficult problems which certainly require the process of logical judgment.

Keywords: Mental Cutting Test, spatial ability, Descriptive Geometry education.

MSC: 51N05

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