Petition launched over DSA theory test questions
The DSA’s decision to stop publishing multiple-choice questions and answers used in theory tests could have a negative impact on people on the autistic spectrum, according to an ADI who has launched a petition about this issue.
The decision, announced by the DSA in November 2010, is designed to ensure that new drivers learn the principles behind driving theory rather than simply the answers to questions. It is being implemented in stages between now and 1 January 2012.
However, according to Mac McDade, the decision could have a negative impact on those learning to drive, or taking the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) theory exam, with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC).
Mac McDade, who has developed the petition in partnership with fellow ADI Julia Malkin MBE, says: “The DSA’s decision to remove the theory test question bank from the public domain has been viewed by most within the industry, including myself, as a positive move to improve driver knowledge and road safety. This decision however does have a negative effect on those with an ASC.
“Without help or a change in the formatting of the theory question bank, pupils on the autistic spectrum will have much difficulty passing the theory test.”
Julia Malkin added: “Many people on the autistic spectrum often need help interpreting the theory test questions. They cannot understand what the questions are asking because of the way in which they are written, so they are unlikely to pass the test without support.
“Though the changes to the questions are perhaps minor, they make all the difference to those with an ASC. We would like the DSA to recognise this issue and take the necessary steps at this time, as the questions are rewritten for 2012.”
Click here for more information or to support the petition.
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We are not asking for the question bank to be made available, but for the DSA to change the way in which the questions are worded and constructed. We support the decision to withdraw the question bank, removing the rote learning which does very little to enhance understanding, but it is the ambiguity in the questions which is the issue. The DSA admit the issue exists, but they need to use this opportunity, whilst rewriting the questions, to put it right. Currently, those with an ASC, and others with special educational needs, can acquire assistance to help their understanding of the questions. This opportunity will be gone from Jan 2012. I hope this clarifies the reason and need for our petition. Many thanks.
Mac McDade, South East
This is not an argument point, just an issue I would like to understand more about, so I am clear in what you have said?
From what you have written, I interpreted it as people with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) will struggle to pass their Theory Test because they will not see the questions prior to taking the test.
So by looking at the questions, pre-test, in the way people can look at them now when faced with the same questions under test situation they would recognise the question and answer accordingly?
Again this is not to cause argument or disagreement but if this is the case, is this not the reason that people without ASC are having the availability of the questions pre-test removed, as itís just recollection learning and not ensuring that new drivers learn the principles behind driving theory?