The effect of a short-term intervention program on the development of spatial ability in middle school

Deanna Lee Kuiper Noyes


This study was developed to determine whether a short-term intervention could significantly increase the spatial ability level of middle school students in the experimental group. This was done by comparing the spatial ability of the experimental group, prior to and following the intervention, to the spatial ability of a control group receiving no spatial instruction. In addition, this study analyzed the relationship between spatial ability and performance level on a performance assessment to a set of variables including age, sex, initial spatial ability, and science achievement. Four intact classes, two fifth grade and two sixth grade, of students from a local elementary school were involved in the study. One fifth and one sixth grade class made up the experimental group, while the other fifth grade and sixth grade classes made up the control group. All students were assessed, prior to the intervention phase, to determine their spatial ability, verbal ability, and science achievement level. The experimental group engaged in the intervention lessons, which lasted for seven weeks. The lessons focused on developing the student's ability to perceive, manipulate, and record spatial information. Following the intervention phase, both groups were again assessed for their spatial ability, verbal ability, and performance assessment level. Results indicated that the intervention did produce a significant increase in the experimental group's spatial ability level. In addition, spatial ability was found to significantly correlate with initial spatial ability and science achievement (at the sixth grade level). Spatial ability was not found to be significantly associated with the age or the sex of the students in this study.