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Test Analysis, Coursework Example

Pages: 3

Words: 918

Coursework

The test being analyzed in this paper is entitled “The Aspie Quiz”, using a popular abbreviation for Asperger’s, the condition that the test has been set up to measure. The author is not directly listed, but throughout the rest of the website, it becomes clear that he is a Swedish autism activist named Leif Elkblad, who has the copyright listed under his own name. The author has self published this quiz on his own website, entirely dedicated to themes such as Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders. The test is free to take and the data is stored privately to assist in the analyses of other tests. Therefore, the test should become more accurate for each new person that takes it.

Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that has become more commonly diagnosed in recent years. Like many disorders of this kid, the traits that it manifests itself in can vary, meaning it can be quite difficult to diagnose especially for young children, when it is perhaps most crucial to do so. An aspie will likely struggle to communicate outside of their words and will have difficulties using body language, facial expression, or proper inflections in speech. They show low levels of social reciprocity. Often, they will show unhealthy levels of passion in one area, ignoring other vital aspects of life in their pursuit of this one interest (DSM-IV).

There are one-hundred and fifty questions that can be answered zero, one, two, or with a question mark. The question mark signifies that the quiz taker does not know how to properly answer the question, while the numerical responses respectively represent that the quiz taker never, sometimes, or frequently experiences the relevant occurrence. It is taken all electronically, with all multiple choice questions. The examination can be taken in about fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on how quickly one decides to plow through it, a function of the percentage of their attention they devote to taking it. The disclaimer before the quiz states that some questions are purely for research purposes while others are to check the sincerity of the rest of the answers given. No exact counts are produced, but it can be assumed that these questions represent the minority, while the majority are there to diagnose Asperger’s.

The test gives two scores on a scale of zero to two-hundred, one of which is an Asperger’s score and the other a neurotypical score. Based on this the test gives the test taker a rough probability of whether or not they are neurotypical or could be considered to have Asperger’s. This is not a Bayesian probability given by a percentage, but with terms such as “very likely” or just “likely”. It breaks one’s ability into communication, social, talent, compulsion, hunting, and perception categories with each being put somewhere on the scale between neurotypical and Asperger’s on the other end. This produces a twelve point circular graph displaying their results. On top of that, each answer is available, with the answer given and the average answers given from either group who has previously taken the test.

Due to the answers being given, along with the frequency of them also being produced, the test is transparent, important for anything trying to have a scientific justification. However, one potential worry for it is that of a feedback loop. By categorizing some answers as representative of neurotypical and others as signs of Asperger early on, the test may just continue to diagnose people that way. Those who score highly on either scale will affect the averages for each question, meaning that the test is all based on knowledge given by the test itself. While there is obviously some outside backing for the questions, the quiz can end up only proving that someone’s answers mirror what the test sees as neurotypical, not what actually is neurotypical in reality. This area warrants further investigation.

The test is based upon the theoretical foundation that can be found elsewhere on the site, referred to by the author as the Neanderthal Theory. The main crux of this is the refutation of Asperger’s and autism as disorders, but signs of fully functional yet different human beings. It basically suggests these traits are passed down through surviving parts of Neanderthal genes, which the author claims are not different enough from human beings, homo sapiens, to prevent some type of interbreeding. The idea is certainly controversial, yet the metrics used by the test to measure the likelihood of an autism spectrum disorder are not entirely dependent on this theory, meaning the test’s validity is not reliant on the veracity of the larger theory.

The test is recommendable with several caveats. It does a good job giving detailed information and answers about conditions related to Asperger’s. However, there are few credentials listed for the test author and he openly admits that his theories relating to autism are out of the mainstream of psychological thinking. His ideas, when combined with the nature of Asperger’s mean that it should be diagnosed only by a professional psychologist in a one-on-one setting. His test is amongst the most in depth available freely online and is a good resource for that reason, but falls short of being a fully reliable diagnostic test for the condition. It is useful for basic research and informing someone if they may have Asperger’s Syndrome, but it needs to be advised that it is not a full substitute for a professional diagnosis.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: Author.

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