Comparing the Effectiveness of Newer Linework on the Mental Cutting Test (MCT) to Investigate Its Delivery in Online Educational Settings

  •  Theresa Green    
  •  Wade H. Goodridge    
  •  Jon Anderson    
  •  Eric Davishahl    
  •  Daniel Kane    


The purpose of this study was to examine any differences in test scores between three different online versions of the Mental Cutting Test (MCT). The MCT was developed to quantify a rotational and proportion construct of spatial ability and has been used extensively to assess spatial ability. This test was developed in 1938 as a paper-and-pencil test, where examinees are presented with a two-dimensional drawing of a 3D object containing a cutting plane passing through the object. The examinee must then determine the cross-sectional shape that would result from cutting along the imaginary cutting plane. This work explored three versions of this test (the original and two adapted versions), administered online, to see if there were any differences on the versions regarding student performance. Versions differed in the linework quality displayed as well as shading shown on the surfaces.

This study analyzed statics students’ scores on the three online versions of the MCT and on the original paper version of the MCT to identify which version of the test may be most optimal for administering to engineering students. Results showed that there was a statistically significant difference in students’ scores between multiple versions. Understanding which representations of the MCT items are most clear to students will provide insights for educators looking to improve and understand the spatial ability of their students.

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