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New theory test questions checked for autism sufferers

25 May 2011
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New questions being introduced into the theory test question bank in January 2012 are being checked by experts on Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).

Driving Instructor Julia Malkin, who suffers from autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, was recently featured in Despatch after receiving an MBE for services to people with special educational needs.

Julia has agreed – along with Mac McDade, Director of Ideas4ADIs Ltd – to help with the wording of the theory test questions so that ASC sufferers are not disadvantaged when taking the test. Mac’s company sponsored Julia when she received the ADI Industry Achievement Award in 2010. A former driving instructor, Mac’s son has Asperger’s Sydrome.

Peter Weddell-Hall, head of e-assessment at DSA, said: “We have acknowledged some of the shortcomings of existing questions for candidates with ASC, and our intention to address these. We have arranged to send samples of the new questions to both Mac and Julia so they can see the changes we have made, hopefully to the benefit of those with ASC.

“New learning materials are also being produced and we would welcome comments on those. We are delighted that Mac and Julia are on board with this project and welcome their input.”

Mac McDade said: “I am grateful that DSA has offered Julia and me the opportunity to be part of this process.”

What’s happening?

From 2012 the multiple choice questions and answers used in theory tests will no longer be made public.

This is designed to help ensure that new drivers learn the principles behind driving theory rather than just learning answers.

In September 2011 DSA will change the format of books and other learning materials available to help people prepare for theory tests, at the same time as more challenging case studies are introduced to car and motorcycle theory tests.

Then, from 1 January 2012, DSA will create theory tests using questions which will not be published.

Practice questions and answers, not used in the actual theory tests, will still be available to help candidates with revision.

[via DSA Despatch]

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