Spatial Strategies Employed by Blind and Low-Vision (BLV) Individuals on the Tactile Mental Cutting Test (TMCT)




Spatial Strategies, Spatial Ability, Spatial Cognition, Blind and Low Vision


Spatial ability is a well-known predictor of success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The purpose of this study was to investigate and understand the spatial strategies that were used by blind and low-vision (BLV) individuals as they solved problems on the tactile mental cutting test (TMCT), an instrument that was designed to measure the spatial ability of BLV audiences. The TMCT is an accessible adaptation of the older, 1938 version of the mental cutting test (MCT) that has been used extensively in spatial ability research. Additionally, this paper seeks to compare these strategies with existing strategies that have been investigated with sighted populations. The BLV community is underrepresented in engineering and in spatial ability research. By understanding how BLV students understand and solve spatial problems and concepts, educators can develop and enhance educational content that is relevant to this population. By incorporating perspectives from the BLV community and making STEM curricula accessible to this population, more BLV individuals may be encouraged to pursue STEM or engineering career pathways.

Author Biographies

Theresa Green, Utah State University

Theresa Green is a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University. She received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Utah State University in 2021. Her research interests include K-12 STEM integration, curriculum development, and supporting diversity and inclusion in engineering.

Wade H. Goodridge, Utah State University

Dr Wade Goodridge is an Associate Professor in Engineering Education at Utah State University. He researches spatial thinking in engineering focused on youth and adults. Dr Goodridge holds dual BS degrees in Civil Engineering and Industrial Technology Education, a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Goodridge has additionally developed expertise in student assessment and curriculum development. His most current work has looked into developing engineering graphics and statics curriculum that is accessible to our blind and low vision youth. Dr. Goodridge has developed an accessible spatial ability instrument (the Tactile Mental Cutting Test) and with his colleagues at the National Federation of the Blind, he has started investigating engineering curriculum impacts on blind and low vision youth's spatial ability. Dr. Goodridge often consults in areas involving assessment as well as traditional/online curriculum development.

Daniel Kane, Utah State University

Daniel Kane is a graduate student at Utah State University pursuing a PhD in Engineering Education with a concurrent master’s degree in Civil Engineering. His research interests focus around the study of spatial ability with an emphasis on identifying patterns of spatial strategies and measuring spatial ability in blind and low vision populations.

Natalie L. Shaheen, Illinois State University

Dr. Natalie L. Shaheen is an assistant professor of low vision and blindness at Illinois State University. Dr. Shaheen’s research and teaching focus on equity and access for disabled students in technology-mediated K-12 learning environments. 




How to Cite

Green, T., Goodridge, W. H., Kane, D., & Shaheen, N. L. (2023). Spatial Strategies Employed by Blind and Low-Vision (BLV) Individuals on the Tactile Mental Cutting Test (TMCT). International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP), 13(5), pp. 42–57.