The development of a computerized version of Vandenberg's Mental Rotation Test and the effect of visuo-spatial working memory loading

Strong, Shawn
Major Professor
Roger A. Smith
Committee Member
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Industrial Education and Technology

This dissertation focused on the generation and evaluation of web-based versions of Vandenberg's Mental Rotation Test. Memory and spatial visualization theory were explored in relation to the addition of a visuo-spatial working memory component;Analysis of the data determined that there was a significant difference between scores on the MRT Computer and MRT Memory test. The addition of a visuo-spatial working memory component did significantly affect results at the .05 alpha level. Reliability and discrimination estimates were higher on the MRT Memory version. The computerization of the paper and pencil version on the MRT did not significantly effect scores but did effect the time required to complete the test;The population utilized in the quasi-experiment consisted of 107 university students from eight institutions in engineering graphics related courses. The subjects completed two researcher developed, Web-based versions of Vandenberg's Mental Rotation Test and the original paper and pencil version of the Mental Rotation Test. One version of the test included a visuo-spatial working memory loading;Significant contributions of this study included developing and evaluating computerized versions of Vandenberg's Mental Rotation Test. Previous versions of Vandenberg's Mental Rotation Test did not take advantage of the ability of the computer to incorporate an interaction factor, such as a visuo-spatial working memory loading, into the test. The addition of an interaction factor results in a more discriminate test which will lend itself well to computerized adaptive testing practices;Educators in engineering graphics related disciplines should strongly consider the use of spatial visualization tests to aid in establishing the effects of modern computer systems on fundamental design/drafting skills. Regular testing of spatial visualization skills will result assist in the creation of a more relevant curriculum. Computerized tests which are valid and reliable will assist in making this task feasible.