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Zoltán Tóth, Edina Kiss and Hans-Dieter Barke: The Hungarian Version of the Spatial Ability Test for Chemistry Education

In chemistry, the importance of the structure of matter cannot be underestimated, hence the use of different structural models as mediators between phenomena and chemical symbols. However, students are often expected to interpret the two-dimensional illustrated space models as three-dimensional structures. For assessing both the initial levels and the improvement of spatial vision, a spatial ability test is needed. The Barke test contains 40 items in five groups of tasks: cube structures; sphere structures; building up sphere layers; counting from unit cells; reflecting and rotating models. The Barke test has already been used for examining the correlation between spatial ability and age, IQ, and gender, as well as the effects of training, curricula and cultural differences on spatial vision. This paper discusses the development and piloting of the Hungarian version of the Barke test for the assessment of spatial ability in students from the University of Debrecen (N=81), and from a secondary school (N=228). The most important test parameters suggest that the Hungarian version of the Barke test is suitable for assessing spatial vision. The results show higher spatial ability in men than for women. A positive correlation was found between spatial ability and age. However, no significant difference was observed between the results of chemistry and non-chemistry students, and there was positive correlation between the scores and chemistry marks. A detailed analysis of the responses showed some typical errors related to the interpretation of two-dimensional images as three-dimensional structural models. For instance, relying on the two-dimensional figure instead of the three-dimensional image of packing, or moving the unit cells in one or two directions of space instead of three when constructing structural model of crystals. Based on the results, some improvements of the Barke spatial ability test are suggested.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 103. Number 4. 459-479. (2003)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Tóth Zoltán, Debreceni Egyetem TTK Kémia Szakmódszertani Részleg, H–4010 Debrecen, Pf. 66.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia