Spatial abilities test for drivers-operators  

Khon N., Kim A., Mukhitdinova T., Shaukenova Z., Basybekova K.
First author's affiliation: Kazak National State University, Almaty, Kazakhstan

The purpose of the present research was to present a test of spatial abilities for drivers-operators of over dimension cargo. A driver-operator operates by the platform with eight pairs of wheels. Up to four single platforms could be connected for extra dimension cargo. A driver-operator of such an extra platform must feel the spatial position or angle of all 32 pairs of wheels. Spatial abilities of drivers-operators are of mental rotation kind. Should selection procedure for drivers-operators job include any mental rotation test and what kind of mental rotation test is the most effective one, is not yet clear. We interviewed 3 professional trainers and 2 HR-managers of transport company and made an observation of job selection procedure during two years. We found that in the most used job selection procedure for drivers-operators all applicants are first selected according to some formal requirements (normally about 50% of all applicants); then all selected applicants are professionally trained as drivers-operators (to set cargo at the platform, to stick it, to operate etc.); finally, the participants most effective in training are selected (normally, about 25% of all people trained). As a result, time and money of the company are wasted because most of the trained applicants are not offered job in the end. We also found that the procedure of job selection doesn’t include any mental rotation tests. The reason is that most of them are constructed as perception tasks, not as a model of motor-perception coordination. Obviously, a new measure of mental rotation ability should be developed. We suggested a special procedure of professional test, measuring mental rotation abilities of applicants for driver-operator position. The result of implementation of this procedure in the job selection was the following: 5 candidates from 40 applicants were selected and then professionally trained. All of them (100%) became successive drivers-operators after professional training. Experts (i.e.., professional trainers as well as HR-managers) considered the procedure as a very good professional test.