An Analysis of Low-Scoring Blind and Low Vision Individuals; Selected Answers on a Tactile Spatial Ability Instrument

June 1st, 2023 | RESEARCH

Spatial ability has been shown through numerous studies to be a strong predictor of student success in STEM fields. Despite the focus on spatial ability in engineering education research, members of the blind and low vision (BLV) population have largely been omitted from research in this area, likely due to the lack of a nonvisually accessible instrument for measuring spatial ability in a tactile format. This work utilizes the Tactile Mental Cutting Test (TMCT), a fully accessible adaptation of the commonly used multiple-choice Mental Cutting Test (MCT) spatial ability instrument which requires participants to identify cross sectional outlines from a three-dimensional object with a cut through it. This paper explores data collected from BLV participants who completed a TMCT test at National Federation of the Blind (NFB) sponsored summer programs for BLV youth, blindness training centers, and state and national NFB conventions. Raw scores from each TMCT participant were analyzed and ranked into high, medium, and low performing groups to help identify main characteristics of each group. In this study we examined patterns in the selected answer choices of the low scoring group to determine frequency of participant selection of distractors for each item of the TMCT. Results from this study can inform academia of the inherent differences between tactile and traditional spatial ability instruments and aid in the design of new tactile instruments. 



Team Members

Daniel Kane, Author, Utah State University
Natalie Shaheen, Author, Illinois State University
Wade Goodridge, Co-Principal Investigator, Utah State University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 1712887
Funding Amount: $2,101,009.00

Related URLs

Spatial Ability and Blind Engineering Research


Access and Inclusion: People with Disabilities
Audience: Adults | Educators | Teachers | Learning Researchers
Discipline: Education and learning science | Engineering
Resource Type: Conference Proceedings
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Summer and Extended Camps