Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 607–615 | Cite as

How Much Can Spatial Training Improve STEM Achievement?

  • Mike Stieff
  • David Uttal
Review Article


Spatial training has been indicated as a possible solution for improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) achievement and degree attainment. Advocates for this approach have noted that the correlation between spatial ability and several measures of STEM achievement suggests that spatial training should focus on improving students’ spatial ability. Although spatial ability can be improved with targeted training, few studies have examined specifically the relation between spatial training and STEM achievement. In this brief report, we review the evidence to date for the effectiveness of spatial training. We argue that spatial training offers one of the many promising avenues for increasing student success in STEM fields, but research studies that show such training causally improve retention, achievement, and degree attainment remain outstanding.


Spatial ability STEM education 



We gratefully acknowledge the input of Tim Shipley, Nora Newcombe, and Kristin Gagnier on our ideas for this report.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Learning Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of Illinois-ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and School of Education and Social PolicyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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