Abstract: In this digest, we explore confidence and success of different demographic groups in a lab-based CAD course. We hypothesize that students with lower spatial visualization ability, who typically struggle in traditional engineering graphics courses, benefit from the relaxed time constraints and frequent instructor interaction of this lab-based class. Our analysis showed that initial spatial visualization test scores were not a good predictor of course grades. Women and international students, both groups with low average spatial visualization ability, had different outcomes: on average, domestic women had higher grades than their domestic male counterparts, while international male students had lower grades than their domestic counterparts. International, domestic minority, and domestic female students reported lower confidence on a survey compared with their counterparts. While the lab-based format appears to help female students’ grades, more work is needed to ensure equal benefit for international students and to encourage confidence in all students.