UBC Undergraduate Research

Performance on the Geologic Spatial Visualization Survey: A Comparison Between Junior and Senior Undergraduate students. Wong, Carrie Alison


Three components of students‟ spatial visualization are tested (spatial relations, spatial manipulation, and visual penetrative ability) along with spatially intensive geology questions. The Geological Spatial Visualizations Survey (GSVS) was developed for four main purposes: (1) to quantify spatial visualization differences between a junior cohort (pre EOSC 223 and 323) and a senior cohort (post EOSC 223 and 323). (2) to determine which spatial visualization ability was the best correlate to spatially intensive geology question scores (3) to define the link between spatial visualization abilities and specific types of geology questions (4) and finally, to explore gender differences within each cohort. Results from the GSVS include: (1) Senior students outperformed junior students in the geology and spatial visualization parts of the GSVS. (2) The best predictor of geology score was spatial manipulation which was also the spatial visualization ability that improved the most from junior to senior cohorts. (3) Although spatial visualization was correlated to geology score, the link between specific geology question types and specific visualization ability was not fully established. (4) There was no difference in geology score between gender and the only spatial visualization score that differed was spatial relations. Males outperformed females in spatial relations but that outcome had no bearing on geology score. The GSVS can be used by instructors of spatially intensive geology courses as an assessment tool and as a skill development exercise because spatial visualization can be improved with practice.

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