An Analysis of Pre and Post-COVID-19 Lockdown Spatial Ability Performance in Blind and Low-Vision Individuals

June 1st, 2023 | RESEARCH

Historically, spatial ability assessments have been used to measure spatial thinking on specific constructs in students participating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. High spatial ability is linked to greater performance in STEM courses and professional STEM career fields. A spatial ability test used commonly for this measurement is the Mental Cutting Test (MCT) developed in 1939 by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). Unfortunately, the MCT is unable to measure the spatial thinking of blind or low-vision (BLV) populations due to the test being only accessible by sight. In 2018, a research lab from Utah State University (USU) adapted the MCT into a fully accessible tactile version, called the Tactile Mental Cutting Test (TMCT). The majority of BLV population samples that have taken the TMCT previously have been participants in training centers for the blind, which serve as training centers for helping BLV populations to build blindness skills and encourage independence. Additional data has been collected from youth camps sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and national and state NFB conventions. In this paper we compare pre-COVID-19 and post-2021 TMCT assessment data from BLV participants including scores and test duration between 2019 and 2022. Results show a statistically significant difference in how long it took participants to complete the TMCT between the two timeframes.



Team Members

David Searle, Author, Utah State University
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: AISL
Award Number: 1712887
Funding Amount: $2,101,009.00

Related URLs

Spatial Ability and Blind Engineering Research


Access and Inclusion: People with Disabilities
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