For students who are not talented with words and numbers but who are talented with mentally rotating figures and shapes in their minds, there is often very little offered to recognize and challenge them in the regular school system. We tend to value people who can write, read, do math, and talk. But if a student can’t do these things so well, we don’t recognize how brilliant some of them actually are.
Consider the SAT and ACT, the critical college entrance exams. Neither of them includes a spatial measure. Some of my research with my colleagues David Lubinski and Camilla Benbow on the importance of spatial ability for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields demonstrates that as a society we have neglected spatially-talented students who are not as good with words and numbers. We miss a large number of them when selecting talented students using typical standardized tests because these tests do not include a measure of spatial ability.