Measures and References: Spatial Skills

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Numerous measures exist to gain a full picture of a student's learning strengths and challenges. Following are examples of measures used to assess this Learner Factor. These measures should be administered and interpreted by experienced professionals.

Block Design subtest (WISC-IV) (Wechsler, 2003): Measures the ability to mentally assemble and analyze abstract visual stimuli in students six to 16 years old.


Cheng, Y., & Mix, K. S. (2014). Spatial training improves children's mathematics ability. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(1), 2-11.

Della Sala, S., Gray, C., Baddeley, A., Allamano, N., & Wilson, L. (1999). Pattern span: A tool for unwelding visuo-spatial memory. Neuropsychologia, 37(10), 1189-1199.

Green, C. T., Bunge, S. A., Briones Chiongbian, V., Barrow, M., & Ferrer, E. (2017). Fluid reasoning predicts future mathematical performance among children and adolescents. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 157, 125-143.

Holmes, J., Adams, J. W., Hamilton, C. J. (2008). The relationship between visuospatial sketchpad capacity and children's mathematical skills. European Journal Of Cognitive Psychology, 20(2), 272-289.

Jansen, P., Schmelter, A., Kasten, L., & Heil, M. (2011). Impaired mental rotation performance in overweight children. Appetite, 56(3), 766-769.

Lauer, J. E., Yhang, E., & Lourenco, S. F. (2019). The development of gender differences in spatial reasoning: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 145(6), 537-565.

Levine, S. C., Vasilyeva, M., Lourenco, S. F., Newcombe, N. S., & Huttenlocher, J. (2005). Socioeconomic status modifies the sex difference in spatial skill. Psychological Science, 16(11), 841-845.

Mix, K. S., Levine, S. C., Young, C., & Hambrick, D. Z. (2016). Separate but correlated: The latent structure of space and mathematics across development. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(9), 1206-1227.

Passolunghi, M. C., & Mammarella, I. C. (2010). Spatial and visual working memory ability in children with difficulties in arithmetic word problem solving. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 22(6), 944-963.

Pittalis, M., & Christou, C. (2010). Types of reasoning in 3D geometry thinking and their relation with spatial ability. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 75, 191-212.

Pruden, S. M., Levine, S. C., & Huttenlocher, J. (2011). Children's spatial thinking: Does talk about the spatial world matter? Developmental Science, 14(6), 1417-1430.

Skagerlund, K., & Traff, U. (2016). Processing of space, time, and number contributes to mathematical abilities above and beyond domain-general cognitive abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 143, 85-101.

Szucs, D., Devine, A., Soltesz, F., Nobes, A., & Gabriel, F. (2014). Cognitive components of a mathematical processing network in 9-year-old children. Developmental Science, 17(4), 506-524.

Ungar, S., Blades, M., & Spencer, C. (1996). The construction of cognitive maps by children with visual impairments. In The Construction of Cognitive Maps (pp. 247-273). Springer, Dordrecht.

Uttal, D. H., Meadow, N. G., Tipton, E., Hand, L. L., Alden, A. R., Warren, C., & Newcombe, N. S. (2013). The malleability of spatial skills: A meta-analysis of training studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139(2), 352-402.

Vasilyeva, M., Casey, B. M., Dearing, E., & Ganley, C. M. (2009). Measurement skills in low-income elementary school students: Exploring the nature of gender differences. Cognition and Instruction, 27(4), 401-428.

Wechsler, D. (2003). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Fourth Edition. San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.