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Journal for Geometry and Graphics 27 (2023), No. 2, 249--262
Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2023

Evaluations of the Data from the Spatial Thinking Platform RIF Show a Clear Trend: Girls and Boys Have Equally Good Spatial Thinking Skills

Günter Maresch
Dept. of Mathematics, University of Salzburg, Austria

Eleni Lagoudaki
Dept. of Mathematics, University of Salzburg, Austria

Natalia Segura Caballero
Dept. of Mathematics, University of Salzburg, Austria

Since 2019, the online platform RIF has collected anonymous results from more than 2.5 million individual tasks completed by students from 33 countries around the world. This large amount of data allows analyses, various evaluations, and interpretations of users’ spatial thinking skills. Since the majority of students participating in RIF are between the ages of 12 and 27, the results of this age group in particular were examined with regard to age- and gender-specific differences and performance in the different areas of spatial thinking. The results of the analyses show clear trends: (1) Girls and boys have (cum grano salis) equally good spatial thinking skills. (2) The analysis of all nine domains of spatial thinking included in RIF shows that boys have an advantage only in the domain of mental rotation. (3) The largest difference between boys and girls in the area of mental rotation is noticeable at the age of 15 to 17. (4) The gender difference in mental rotation decreases considerably with increasing age of students. (5) With increasing age, the average probability of solving the tasks correctly increases for all students in all domains of spatial thinking.

Keywords: Spatial thinking, spatial ability, education, geometry.

MSC: 97C40

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