Implementation and analysis of a spatial skills course for Secondary level STEM education
Keywords:Spatial skills, professional development, pedagogy, secondary education, student outcomes, student participation
High spatial skills have been directly linked to enhanced performance in STEM disciplines, with improvements in spatial skills linked to an increase in female retention at the university level. Spatial skills development and direct training are well researched and implemented within university level engineering education but are less defined at earlier stages of education. It is hypothesised that a spatial intervention implemented at the secondary level could be beneficial in order to boost student performance in STEM, where it still influences their interest in subjects and future career paths. The purpose of this paper is to present the implementation process of a spatial intervention in Irish secondary schools and the initial analysis of combined teacher and student data. The intervention was implemented with Transition Year (aged ~15 to 16 years old) students. Fifty teachers undertook a tailored professional development training to prepare them to deliver the spatial skills intervention, some of which then took part in various qualitative data gathering activities. The intervention was delivered to approximately 1500 students. They were administered a range of psychometric tests, including multiple spatial tests and a fluid reasoning test to investigate their development in a variety of cognitive aspects. This paper will focus on investigating the possible relationships between teacher spatial ability and student gains in spatial ability. The findings of the study were positive, indicating the successful implementation of the intervention and showing promise for future iterations.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Ursa Benedicic, Liam Maquet, Gavin Duffy, Ronan Dunbar, Jeff Buckley, Sheryl Sorby
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