Factors of Spatial Visualization: An Analysis of the PSVT:R


  • Jeremy V. Ernst Virginia Tech
  • Thomas O. Williams Virginia Tech
  • Aaron C. Clark North Carolina State University
  • Daniel P. Kelly North Carolina State University


The Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualization of Rotations (PVST:R) is among the most commonly used measurement instruments to assess spatial ability among engineering students. Previous analysis that explores the factor structure of the PSVT:R indicates a single-factor measure of the instrument. With this as a basis, this research seeks to examine the psychometric properties of the test. This paper presents the findings of single and multi-factor analyses of the PSVT:R given to 335 students enrolled in an introductory engineering design graphics course. Initial analysis did not support a single factor solution. Further examination of pattern analyses and communalities are suggestive of the possibility that the PSVT:R may load on multiple factors. The magnitude of the variance is not explained by a single factor and whether the PSVT:R can be considered a single construct measure of mental rotation ability is not supported by this study. This represents a potential divergence from the current literature and may call into question the replicability of the test’s psychometric properties. 

Author Biographies

Jeremy V. Ernst, Virginia Tech

Associate Professor

Integrative STEM Education

Thomas O. Williams, Virginia Tech

Associate Professor

Special Education

Aaron C. Clark, North Carolina State University


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Daniel P. Kelly, North Carolina State University

Doctoral Student/Graduate Research Assistant
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education





Feature Articles