I discovered a new Aspergers quiz that wasn’t around (AFAIK) when I did the original Take a Test Tuesday series. At first I was excited because it says that it was created by an MD who is on the spectrum and the range and wording of the questions looked good at first glance.
Unfortunately, that’s about all there is to like about it. I’m hesitant to link to the site because of the way it talks about Aspergers. Lots of pathologizing language and functioning labels and pandering to the search engines along with some blatant misinformation. It’s also visually overwhelming and loaded with ads.
Consider yourself forewarned if you want to check it out anyway.
The Aspergers Quiz
The Aspergers Quiz website says that the quiz was created by Dr. Logan Cook from the University of Michigan. My Google-fu failed to turn up any further information about Dr. Cook or any research the quiz might have been based on, so I’m assuming that it’s based solely on the creator’s anecdotal evidence or personal experience. If that’s the case, it’s the only AS “screening” quiz that I’ve reviewed here that isn’t based on any sort of statistical analysis at all.
The site states upfront that it’s an informational quiz and not diagnostic, which is good. But it also presents the results in terms of a “percentage chance you might have Asperger’s”, which in the absence of any underlying statistical testing, is completely baseless. Answering a screening quiz 75% positive is totally different from having a 75% chance of having a condition. It’s great that there’s a disclaimer at the top of the page, but giving a specific percentage result at the end of quiz without disclosing how that percentage was arrived at is irresponsible.
Having said that, I actually liked the wording of many of the questions and the range of topics that the questions cover. I don’t feel like there is the level of gender bias that we’ve seen in other screening instruments. The questions cover physical as well as social and emotional traits. There isn’t much emphasis on sensory traits, but it does cover some things that tend to be omitted from other quizzes, like sleep difficulties. However, the limited range of answer choices (yes/no/don’t know) often made the questions hard to answer accurately.
Pros and Cons of The Aspergers Quiz
Created by a person who is on the spectrum
Short (21 questions)
Questions are mostly neutrally worded, free of gender bias
Anonymous, no personal information collected
No research or statistical basis of results
Gives a single numeric result with no explanation of what that number means or how it was derived
Doesn’t work in Chrome or Firefox
Formatting is broken and website is visually cluttered, making the test hard to follow
Excessive number of advertisements on the site
The test uses check boxes instead of radio boxes, which allows for multiple conflicting answers to each question
The use of yes, no and I don’t know as the only answer choices makes the questions hard to answer accurately in some cases
Background information provided by the site is a mix of helpful information, ableist stereotypes and misinformation
Presentation of results is ethically irresponsible
Lack of background information about how the quiz was created or what the rationale is for the choice of questions
Taking the Aspergers Quiz
I’ve pulled the links to the quiz, but you could find it by googling if you want to. I had to use Internet Explorer to get it to work. Using Chrome (Win8) resulted in bunch of code being displayed instead of the test result on the final page. (Alex confirmed that it doesn’t work in Firefox either.) The questions are divided into 3 categories: social, life skills and physical. However, the programming of the site seems to be flawed, so the questions appear under the wrong headings and the fourth page of the quiz is blank. I just hit continue on the fourth page and it took me to the results page.
SCORING THE TEST
I got “Based on your answers, there is a 76.2% chance that you have Asperger’s Syndrome.” The outcome is obviously accurate if “a 76.2% chance” is implying that I’m more likely on the spectrum than not, based on my answers. However, I have serious reservations about the use of a percentage-based figure, given the lack of supporting research or documentation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There are better options available when it comes to online AS quizzes (for example, The Aspie Quiz). While the results of this quiz are probably going to be in the right ballpark–more likely to be on the spectrum if you get a larger percentage result–the way they’re presented is flawed and not very useful. Most people who are taking online AS quizzes are doing it because they seriously suspect that they might be autistic. Presenting a quiz solely for entertainment does them a disservice and undermines the seriousness of that early exploration process.