Spatial Visualization, Visual Imagery, and Mathematical Problem Solving of Students With Varying Abilities

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate students’ use of visual imagery and its relationship to spatial visualization ability while solving mathematical word problems. Students with learning disabilities (LD), average achievers, and gifted students in sixth grade (N = 66) participated in this study. Students were assessed on measures of mathematical problem solving, visual imagery representation, and spatial visualization ability. The results indicated that gifted students performed better on both spatial visualization measures than students with LD and average-achieving students. Use of visual images was positively correlated with higher mathematical wordproblem–solving performance. Furthermore, the use of schematic imagery was significantly and positively correlated with higher performance on each spatial visualization measure; conversely, it was negatively correlated with the use of pictorial images.