July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Educational Research and Methods
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. Spatial interventions have been developed to improve student’s spatial ability that range from physical manipulatives to the implementation of entire courses. These interventions have had positive impact upon student success and retention.
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. It is recognized that this measured performance is constrained by the spatial construct targeted with that spatial instrument. As such, many instruments are available for the researchers use to assess the variety of constructs of spatial ability. Examples include the Purdue Spatial Visualization Test of Rotations (PSVTR), the Mental Cutting Test (MCT), and the Minnesota Paper Foam Board Test.
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). Such an instrument would not only create an instrument capable of quantifying the impacts of spatially focused interventions upon BLV populations but also gives us a quantitative method to assess the effectiveness of spatial curriculum for BLV students. Additionally, it provides a method of assessing spatial ability development from tactile perspective, a new avenue for lines of research that expand beyond the visual methods typically used.
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.
Goodridge, W. H., & Shaheen, N. L., & Hunt, A. T., & Kane, D. (2021, July), Work in Progress: The Development of a Tactile Spatial Ability Instrument for Assessing Spatial Ability in Blind and Low-vision Populations Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38203
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