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Journal for Geometry and Graphics 26 (2022), No. 1, 159--170
Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2022

The Role of Spatial Visualization Ability in Course Outcomes and Student Retention within Technology Programs

Ted Branoff
Illinois State University, Normal, U.S.A.

Jaby Mohammed
Illinois State University, Normal, U.S.A.

Joshua Brown
Illinois State University, Normal, U.S.A.

Some studies have shown that students who perform well on standard measures of spatial visualization ability progress at a higher rate in engineering programs than students who perform poorer on these measures. In addition, it has been shown that an independent spatial visualization course can improve performance on spatial visualization ability. TEC116, an introductory constraint-based modeling and engineering graphics course at Illinois State University, is required for Engineering Technology, Graphic Communications Technology, and Technology & Engineering Education majors. The course is also a technical elective for Computer Systems Technology and Sustainable & Renewable Energy majors. Exercises from Introduction to 3D Spatial Visualization: An Active Approach have been integrated into this course since the fall of 2010. The course also includes an introduction to part modeling, drawings, and assemblies using Autodesk Inventor. During the fall 2015 through the fall 2018 semesters, students were administered the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (PSVT:R) and the Mental Cutting Test (MCT) as pre and post-test measures. This paper will report demographic data of the students enrolled in the course; spatial visualization scores; persistence data for the students enrolled in the course; spatial test outcomes by graduation status, mathematics grade, and grade in TEC116; and discuss future initiatives related to revising the curriculum.

Keywords: CAD, engineering graphics, spatial visualization.

MSC: 51N05; 51M04, 51N15

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