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Some Observations of Problem Solving in Spatial Relations Tests

Myers, Charles T.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Interviews, Problem Solving, Response Style (Tests), Spatial Ability, Spatial Relations Tests, Visual Measures


During the past twenty-five years or so, a number of factor-analytic studies have identified a group of tests as belonging to a category which is frequently called Spatial Relations. However, continued use of a single experimental technique may lead to diminishing returns, and new techniques may be needed to develop new kinds of information. The present study was undertaken to find what information could be gained by relatively intensive and extended interviewing. Five subjects took part in about two hours of testing and six hours of interviews and discussion. The purpose of this investigation included studying the uses of interviewing as a method as well as studying the nature of spatial relations tests and the abilities they measure. It was observed that the subjects expected the test directions to serve a different purpose than the one they were designed to serve. It was also found that there were differences in the degree to which these subjects treated the problems as exercises in logic or exercises in perception; and it was found that the units of thought and perception varied with the subjects, the problems, and with the subjects' purposes.

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