Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
People that process though using pictures rather than words have difficulty in school. Previous research has shown that characteristics of Spatial Learners, or people that process thought spatially, by thinking in pictures rather than words, have poor spelling, are less likely to graduate high school, have a lower grade average, are likely male, don't read instructions carefully, are late bloomers, have a bedroom that is disorganized, lose track of time and have difficulty memorizing words. Many of history's great problem solvers are believed to be highly spatial people.
It is theorized that the majority of highly spatial learners are not as likely to enter post-secondary education as a degree earners but instead as a Career Technical Education (CTE) student because traditional education is not oriented toward their style of learning.
The objective of this research was to see if there is a relationship to spatial learners and the learning track they pursue. A survey was developed asking students in general education classes and CTE classes if they have the traits that have been identified as a person with spatial strengths. The student also completed a spatial test to measure their spatial ability.
The results indicated little relationship between general education vs. technical and spatial ability. There was also no relationship between spatial ability and the known traits previously associated with highly spatial people. Unfortunately, this leaves the spatial test used in the research questionable and likely not viable. Since little relationship was measured between any of the data, it suggests that the research should be repeated using a different tool to measure spatial ability; perhaps from the Elliot Spatial Test Collection at the University of Akron.
Previous research indicated relationships between people with high spatial abilities and certain behaviors that could not be duplicated with this survey. If the spatial evaluation tool cannot show a relationship between the known behaviors of highly spatial people, it brings its validity into question. The question of if there are larger groups of highly spatial learners in different learning tracks remains unanswered by this work.
McGowan, Robert S., "A Descriptive-Correlational Study Exploring Post-Secondary Student Tracks Chosen by Learners with High Spatial Ability" (2011). Electronic Thesis Collection. Paper 55.