Work in Progress: The Development of a Tactile Spatial Ability Instrument for Assessing Spatial Ability in Blind and Low-vision Populations

January 1st, 2021 | RESEARCH

There is significant work indicating that spatial ability has correlations to student success in STEM programs. Work also shows that spatial ability correlates to professional success in respective STEM fields. Spatial ability has thus been a focus of research in engineering education for some time. Currently, researchers rely on a variety of different spatial ability instruments to quantify participants spatial ability. Researchers classify an individual’s spatial ability as the performance indicated by their results on such an instrument. However, at this time, there are no readily accessible spatial ability instruments that can be used to assess spatial ability in a blind or low vision population (BLV).

This paper discusses the development of the Tactile Mental Cutting Test (TMCT), a non-visually accessible spatial ability instrument, developed and used with a BLV population. Data was acquired from individuals participating in National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Conventions across the United States as well as NFB sponsored summer engineering programs. The paper reports on a National Science Foundation funded effort to garner initial research findings on the application of the TMCT. It reports on initial findings of the instrument’s validity and reliability, as well as the development of the instrument over the first three years of this project. 



Team Members

Natalie Shaheen, Author, Illinois State University
Ann Hunt, Author
Daniel Kane, Author, Utah 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 | General Public | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists | Undergraduate | Graduate Students
Discipline: Engineering
Resource Type: Conference Proceedings | Research Products
Environment Type: Summer and Extended Camps