Title

Quantitative and qualitative change in children’s mental rotation performance

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Learning and Individual Differences

Volume

18

Issue

4

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

10-1-2008

First Page

419

Last Page

429

Abstract

This study investigated quantitative and qualitative changes in mental rotation performance and solution strategies with a focus on sex differences. German children (N = 519) completed the Mental Rotations Test (MRT) in the 5th and 6th grades (interval: one year; age range at time 1: 10–11 years). Boys on average outperformed girls on both occasions (dT1 = 0.45; dT2 = 0.35). Strong quantitative change was reflected in increased test scores from time 1 to time 2. The increase was equivalent for girls (d = 1.04) and boys (d = 1.05). Qualitative change was investigated in a multigroup latent transition analysis (LTA) of the MRT items. LTA confirmed findings from prior studies showing that children used different solution strategies to solve the MRT problems. Girls tended to use less efficient strategies than did boys. Moreover, LTA revealed that participants showing inefficient solution strategies at time 1 tended to improve their performance less than students who already showed more elaborate strategies at time 1.

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