Measuring Student Persistence through Spatial Visualization

Measuring Student Persistence through Spatial Visualization

This event occurred in the past

Date and Time

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.



5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




Student learning in the classroom can be impacted by pedagogy as well as innate student abilities. Identification of specific barriers to student learning at the beginning of the semester can help inform pedagogy and tailor teaching strategies to meet individual student needs. One specific student level quality that may impact learning is persistence. Persistence is defined as the ability to be determined to do or achieve something regardless of any setbacks and has been shown to correlate with student learning (Duckworth 2016; Ermeling 2015). However, persistence may be difficult to assess and traditional survey instruments to measure persistence may elicit social desirability bias.

In this event, we will share and demonstrate a tool to measure persistence based on spatial thinking. Spatial Vis is an application that allows students to sketch orthographic and isometrics on a smartphone or tablet. The sketches are graded automatically and students receive personalized hints when stuck. Research and classroom trials showed that student improvement in spatial skills was closely tied to their persistence and that the Spatial Vis app could quantify persistence based upon the percentage of time a student retried an assignment without help, which is not possible with a survey questionnaire. 

To participate in the hands-on portion of the workshop it is recommended to download the "Spatial Vis" app to your Apple or Android phone or tablet prior to attending. Please search "Spatial Vis" in the Apple or Google Play stores and download this freemium version. During the workshop, instructions for how to upgrade this free version into the full version will be provided. 

Learning outcomes:

-Participants will consider the relationship between persistence and learning

-Participants will learn how to apply the Spatial Vis app to gauge student persistence through spatial visualization 

  • Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Simon and Schuster.
  • Ermeling, B., Hiebert, J., & Gallimore, R. (2015). Beyond Growth Mindset: Creating Classroom Opportunities for Meaningful Struggle. Education Week 

Presented by: Dr. Marcus Lam, Assistant Professor at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences in the Department of Leadership Studies; Dr. Lelli Van Den Einde is a Teaching Professor at UC San Diego in the Department of Structural Engineering.

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