The validity and reliability of online testing for the assessment of spatial ability.
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The assessment of spatial skills offers significant insight into cognitive capacities associated with disciplines such as graphics, engineering and design. The operationalization of this assessment is typically seen in the format of paper and pencil based tests. However, aligning with pertinent technological advances, a paradigm shift can be seen in the exploration of computer based online assessment. While research has identified a number of limitations to this approach, the use of computer based assessment merits recognition, especially as technology becomes increasingly integrated into modern society. This paper investigates the validity and reliability of online testing in the assessment of spatial skills. A study cohort (n=162) of 1st year post-primary pupils piloted a test center which consisted of digital versions of three spatial ability tests. Performance scores were compared with a national sample from a similar demographic who utilized paper based versions of the tests. Results indicate no statistically significant difference between modalities and suggest the applicability of expedited tests for larger cohorts while the full tests appear more suitable for individual results.
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