Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, scores were a big thing in high school. Everyone wanted to know everyone else’s score so they could numerically compare one person’s intelligence to their own. And sure, the SAT accomplishes what you would expect a standardized test to accomplish, but Vanderbilt professors Harrison J. Kell, David Lubinski, Camilla P. Benbow, and James H. Steiger may have more to say on the subject. The Business Insider article, “Kids Who Do Well On This Spatial Intelligence Test May Have Potential That’s Going Completely Unrealized,” addresses their findings. Max Nisen explains, “when you add a test for spatial reasoning ability to the mix, you get an even better predictor of someone’s future accomplishments, creativity, and innovative potential.” Spatial reasoning describes an individual’s ability to visualize and manipulate an object in their head. The thought processes that go into solving a multiple choice problem on a standardized test can only reveal so much about the person answering a question. Spatial reasoning involves the use of mathematical and creative concepts, as well as a bit of imagination, and is largely unmeasured by most standardized tests.
And if you think about it, this should not come as a surprise to anybody. You can drill mathematical concepts all day, but these won’t come into play unless you have a situation where you need math to solve the problem. Math requires its own brand of creativity, but spatial reasoning can take someone to a place where a math equation could never have brought them. Having the ability to visualize and manipulate objects can give someone the edge in understanding problems and take them out of the rut of the routine realm of standardized test questions. Using tools that measure spatial reasoning, such as the Differential Apptitude Test could help educators recognize the ability of students and create a more meaningful education for them.