Self-assessment Instruments

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Introduction to Self-assessment Instruments

This IAE-pedia article on Self-Assessment Instruments is a "companion piece" to . As you study various self-assessment instruments, keep in mind the following quotation:

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” (Albert Einstein; German-born theoretical physicist and 1921 Nobel Prize winner; 1879-1955.)

Scientists focus their research on posing questions that can be answered using some combination of experimental, theoretical, and computational methods. Einstein's statement might be considered to be a reminder to scientists that there is more to the world than just problems that can be approached using the Scientific Method.

Many different things can be measured, and measurement is a large field of research, development, and application. For example, at a modest cost you can buy a measuring device that slips over the end of a finger, and that measures pulse rate and blood-oxygen concentration. Of course, it is easy to determine your pulse rate by counting the number of heart beats for a half minute or a minute. But, it takes a sophisticated instrument to measure blood-oxygen concentration. Data from different people can be gathered and used to establish averages or norms that can be useful in a medical diagnosis or an exercise program.

There are many important things that are not easily measured. Consider happiness. Think of a time when you were very very happy, and assign this level of happiness the number 10. Think of a time you were very very unhappy, and assign this level of happiness the number 1. You now have the end points of a scale that you can use to report your current level of happiness. However, a 1 or 10 for you does not mean the same thing as a 1 or 10 for someone else. If you say your level of happiness is currently a 6, this does not mean that your level of happiness is the same as that of another person who reports a 6. Measurement is a complex field of study!

This self-assessment instruments website examines a number of areas in which readers can measure their own levels of performance. This information can then be used in examining questions such as:

  • How well am I doing relative to my personal goals?
  • How well am I doing relative to the expectations of others such as my parents, friends, teachers, the school system, future employers, and so on?
  • If I want to do better, what are some sources of help?

Some Background Information

"An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself." (Albert Camus; French novelist, essayist and playwright, who received the 1957 Nobel Prize for literature; 1913-1960.)

This quote has to do with a person learning about and knowing about himself or herself. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences includes Intrapersonal Intelligence—self-awareness; knowledge of self.

Certain aspects of self-assessment come from metacognition and introspection. However, most people find it is also helpful to examine data from external sources.

For example, think about your ability to throw a ball. Introspection may help you to understand whether you can throw various kinds of balls well enough to meet your personal needs. A different approach is to have some sort of measurements of how well you can throw a ball. A softball player might be interested in distance, speed, and accuracy. A basketball player would certainly want data on throwing the ball through the hoop or to another teammate. A bowler would want to collect data on his or her bowling scores or success in picking up spares.

Self-assessment can be done fairly precisely in many areas. Here’s an example. When you read a page in a book, how fast do you read and how well do you learn from what you read? It’s easy to calculate your reading rate. In addition, a number of websites provide a reading rate and reading understanding test. Typically such sites do not help you to decide whether your reading skills are adequate to meeting your current needs or how they compare to those of other people.

There are many questions you might ask about your own body. What’s your resting pulse rate? What’s your blood pressure? What’s your resting respiration rate? What’s your reaction time? How well do you see? Do you have some color blindness? How healthy are you? How long does it take you to run a hundred meters? How long does it take you to swim 50 meters? How high can you jump?

You probably detect a pattern in these questions. It is possible to measure many things about yourself. Some of these things can be changed by diet and exercise. Some can be changed with training and education. For things that you cannot change, such as color blindness, you can learn useful accommodations.

In all cases, you can think about whether your performance meets your own needs. In some areas, you can learn how your performance compares with that of others.

Virtual Assessment

Here is an article by Pendred Noyce that discusses "virtual" assessments:

Noyce, P. (6/27/2011). Putting Virtual Assessments to the Test. Education Week. Retrieved 6/29/2011 from

Virtual performance assessments (VPA) are an important component of the future of assessment in education. Quoting from the article:

With everyone from the nation’s top CEOs to President Obama stressing the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, learning in order to prepare students for a competitive 21st-century workforce, we need better measures of how well students are mastering those subjects. Science and other complex subjects are not served well by conventional testing; answering A, B, C, D, or “all of the above” doesn’t lend itself to measuring science proficiency, scientific thinking, or deeper knowledge and understanding.
While traditional paper-and-pencil testing gauges student knowledge on distinct facts or concepts, virtual performance assessments allow students to actually use scientific inquiry and problem-solving through interactions with their virtual environments. In a VPA, students, represented by computer-generated icons, or avatars, make a series of choices. They tackle authentic science problems, investigate causal factors, and choose which virtual experiments to conduct in a virtual lab. The assessment is no longer focused on a single right answer, but on the result of decisions and knowledge applied by the student. This approach allows a finer measure of students’ understanding and provides a truer assessment of what students know and don’t know about complex science content.

Over Estimation of One's Performance Level

Quoting from the Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding.
David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University conclude, "...the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."

Quoting the abstract of a 1999 Kruger and Dunning research article:

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

Many Self-assessment Instruments Are on the Web

WARNING: (1) The instruments listed below vary in quality. The results obtained through use of these instruments may not be accurate measures of what you hope is being measured. User discretion is advised. (2) Many "free" sites require you to register and provide personal information. Others let you take a test and then require payment to see the results. Beware!

Human Brain

Human knowledge about the human and other brains is growing very rapidly. Click here for brief introductions to a number of brain science topics.

Brain Fitness

A 3/15/2014 Google search of the term brain fitness produced over 140 million hits. Quoting from the Wikipedia:

The term brain fitness reflects a hypothesis that cognitive abilities can be maintained or improved by exercising the brain, in analogy to the way physical fitness is improved by exercising the body. Although there is strong evidence that aspects of brain structure remain plastic throughout life, and that high levels of mental activity are associated with reduced risks of age-related dementia, scientific support for the concept of "brain fitness" is limited. The term is virtually never used in the scientific literature, but is commonly used in the context of self-help books and commercial products.It first came into play in the 1980s, and appeared in the titles of self-help books in 1989 and 1990.

In recent years, brain fitness has become widely publicized and has been made into a variety of products that are widely sold. Quoting from Lily Dayton's Los Angeles Times article, If You're Thinking of Trying Training:

As the brain fitness craze grows, so do the number of software programs that promise to boost mental skills. Here, we take a look at three of the largest companies in the digital brain health industry. Each offers trial games that users can play free.

Here is a quote from the website PositScience:

Fifty years ago, going to the gym wasn't something the average person did. Now, it seems, everyone has a gym membership, or finds another way to exercise regularly. That’s because a revolution took place in the 1980s and 1990s: we all learned how important physical exercise was for our overall health and well-being.
Brain fitness is the next step in that revolution. Just as you can exercise your abs, delts, and quads, you can exercise your memory, attention, and more. As with physical exercise, brain exercise can help you improve your performance and feel your best.

PositScience is a for-profit company specializing in brain research and in developing products based on this research. See for a self-assessment instrument titled Speech in Noise as well as other self-assessment games/tests. is a commercial company that offers a wide range of brain training materials. See a free example at Quoting from

Challenge your brain with scientifically-designed training
Build your Personalized Training Program
* Train memory and attention
* Web-based personalized training program
* Track your progress
We collaborate with researchers from 36 top universities around the world in an effort known as the Human Cognition Project. Dozens of collaborations are underway.

The AARP website provides access to a number of free Brain Games. Quoting from

Our new [Stay Sharp] membership is designed to keep your brain healthy and sharp by delivering valuable tools and information to help increase brain speed, improve memory and sharpen your intelligence.
With Stay Sharp, you receive all the benefits of our Standard Membership and new extras:
A subscription to Brain HQ, an online resource just for AARP members, featuring:
* Award winning, fun and challenging brain games
* Exercises designed to help improve memory and focus

These and other companies provide demonstrations of sample materials. A 3/15/2014 Google search of the expression free brain fitness tests OR games produced over 76 million hits.


Quoting from

Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of [cognitive] processing resources.
Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Attention remains a major area of investigation within education, psychology and neuroscience. Areas of active investigation involve determining the source of the signals that generate attention, the effects of these signals on the tuning properties of sensory neurons, and the relationship between attention and other cognitive processes like working memory and vigilance. A relatively new body of research is investigating the phenomenon of traumatic brain injuries and their effects on attention.

See a 10-question, five-minute self-assessment instrument, Attention Span Test, at

Short-term Memory

Quoting from Kendra Cheery's article, What Is Short-term Memory?:

Short-term memory, also known as primary or active memory, is the information we are currently aware of or thinking about. In Freudian psychology, this memory would be referred to as the conscious mind. The information found in short-term memory comes from paying attention to sensory memories.
Most of the information kept in short-term memory will be stored for approximately 20 to 30 seconds, but it can be just seconds if rehearsal or active maintenance of the information is prevented. While many of our short-term memories are quickly forgotten, attending to this information allows it to continue on the next stage–long-term memory.
Short-term memory is often used interchangeably with working memory, but the two should be utilized separately. Working memory refers to the processes that are used to temporarily store, organize and manipulate information. Short-term memory, on the other hand, refers only to the temporary storage of information in memory.

A 3/26/2014 Google search of the expression short-term memory produced about 55 million hits. For example, see the self-assessment instrument Short-term Memory Test.

The following paper is a "must read" for people interested in studying short-term memory.

Miller, G.A. (1956). The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information. Psychological Review 63(2): 81–97. Retrieved 3/26/2014 from

Many people find that their short-term memory is taxed by the challenge of hearing or reading a seven-digit phone number, and then keying it in from memory. Here is a quote from What Is Working Memory and Why Does It Matter?:

Remember the day when someone rattled off a phone number while you just hoped against hope you’d recall the string of digits as you were dialing? That was working memory toiling away. With the advent of cell phones, you may no longer use it this way very often. But working memory still plays a central role in learning and our daily lives.
If working memory is weak, it can trip up just about anyone. But it really works against a child with learning disabilities (LD). You can take steps to help a child with weak working memory, whether or not LD is a part of the picture. Start by understanding what working memory is all about.
Brief [short-term] by design, working memory involves a short-term use of memory and attention, adds Matthew Cruger, PhD, neuropsychologist with the Learning and Diagnostics Center at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. “It is a set of skills that helps us keep information in mind while using that information to complete a task or execute a challenge,” he says. Working memory is like a foundation of the brain’s executive function. This is a broad and deep group of mental processes. They allow you to do things like plan ahead, problem solve, organize and pay attention.

You will likely also be interested in the Wikipedia article, Sensory Memory. Quoting from this article:

During every moment of an organism's life, sensory information is being taken in by sensory receptors and processed by the nervous system.The information people received which is stored in sensory memory is just long enough to be transferred to short-term memory Humans have five main senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch. Sensory memory (SM) allows individuals to retain impressions of sensory information after the original stimulus has ceased A common demonstration of SM is a child's ability to write letters and make circles by twirling a sparkler at night. When the sparkler is spun fast enough, it appears to leave a trail which forms a continuous image. This "light trail" is the image that is represented in the visual sensory store known as iconic memory. The other two types of SM that have been most extensively studied are echoic [auditory] memory, and haptic [tactile] memory.

Approximate Number Sense

John Hopkins University (8/8/2011). You Can Count on This: Math Ability Is Inborn, New Research Suggests. Science Daily. Retrieved 3/27/2014 from Quoting from this article:
We accept that some people are born with a talent for music or art or athletics. But what about mathematics? Do some of us just arrive in the world with better math skills than others? It seems we do, at least according to the results of a new study. The research indicates that math ability in preschool children is strongly linked to their inborn and primitive "number sense," called an "Approximate Number System" or ANS.
"The relationship between 'number sense' and math ability is important and intriguing because we believe that 'number sense' is universal, whereas math ability has been thought to be highly dependent on culture and language and takes many years to learn," she explained. "Thus, a link between the two is surprising and raises many important questions and issues, including one of the most important ones, which is whether we can train a child's number sense with an eye to improving his future math ability."
"Previous studies testing older children left open the possibility that differences in instructional experience is what caused the difference in their number sense; in other words, that some children tested in middle or high school looked like they had better number sense simply because they had had better math instruction," Libertus said. "Unlike those studies, this one shows that the link between 'number sense' and math ability is already present before the beginning of formal math instruction."

Here is a research article that supports the information given above.

Libertus, M., Feigenson, L., and Halberda, J. (2/8/2011). Preschool Acuity of the Approximate Number System Correlates with School Math Ability. Developmental Science. Retrieved 3/27/2014 from
Previous research shows a correlation between individual differences in people’s school math abilities and the accuracy with which they rapidly and nonverbally approximate how many items are in a scene. This finding is surprising because the Approximate Number System (ANS) underlying numerical estimation is shared with infants and with non-human animals who never acquire formal mathematics. However, it remains unclear whether the link between individual differences in math ability and the ANS depends on formal mathematics instruction. Earlier studies demonstrating this link tested participants only after they had received many years of mathematics education, or assessed participants’ ANS acuity using tasks that required additional symbolic or arithmetic processing similar to that required in standardized math tests. To ask whether the ANS and math ability are linked early in life, we measured the ANS acuity of 200 3- to 5-year-old children using a task that did not also require symbol use or arithmetic calculation. We also measured children’s math ability and vocabulary size prior to the onset of formal math instruction. We found that children’s ANS acuity correlated with their math ability, even when age and verbal skills were controlled for. These findings provide evidence for a relationship between the primitive sense of number and math ability starting early in life.

Adult and Childhood ADHD Test

A 2/21/2017 Google search of the expression free adult ADHD self-assessment produced about 1.8 million hits..

The site provides access to a variety of free tests. See, for example,

Quoting from

Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks, or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational, and academic problems.
ADHD afflicts approximately 3% to 10% of school-aged children and an estimated 60% of those will continue to have symptoms that affect their functioning as adults.
Prevalence rates for ADHD in adults are not as well determined as rates for children, but fall in the 4% to 5% range.
ADHD affects males at higher rate than females in childhood, but this ratio seems to even out by adulthood.

ADHD is not easy to correctly diagnose. See Quoting from that site:

Medical science has come a long way in its ability to recognize and treat ADHD. Still, there's no single ADHD test available to help doctors diagnose this common disorder.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder " one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity)."

Harvard Medical School has developed an Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) screening test for adults. It is available in a number of different languages. See

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association makes available a free instrument, The World Health Organization Adult Self-Support Scale Screener.

Adult and Childhood Dyslexia

Quoting the International Dyslexia Association:

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a dyslexic person develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties. Dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn; with appropriate teaching methods, dyslexics can learn successfully.

A 3/17/2014 Google search of the expression free dyslexia self-assessment produced about 200 thousand hits.

Quoting the site Adult Self-Assessment Tool: Are You Dyslexic?:

Dyslexia affects 1 in 10 individuals, many of whom remain undiagnosed and receive little or no intervention services. For some individuals who have never been diagnosed, dyslexia is a hidden disability which may result in underemployment, difficulty navigating academic environments, difficulty on the job, and reduced self-confidence. Even those who have been diagnosed are likely to struggle with reading or writing in some aspects of their lives. Dyslexia is a specific reading disorder and does not reflect low intelligence. There are many bright and creative individuals with dyslexia who never learn to read, write, and/or spell at a level consistent with their intellectual ability.
This site includes a 10-question self-assessment instrument for adults. Such a short test can perhaps provide a tiny hint of a dyslexia problem.

The site contains a more extensive set of questions. Like many of the free self-assessment sites, information is provided about getting professional (not free!) help from the company providing the site. Quoting from the site:

The assessment has 5 pages, with 41 questions in all. You should try to answer as many questions as possible, but you can skip or omit any questions which do not apply.
You will have an opportunity to print out your results at the end of the assessment. You may want to keep this to take with you if you would like to consult with a Davis Dyslexia Correction® provider.


Quoting from Dyscalculia and Learning Math, an Information Age Education Blog written by David Moursund:

Dyscalculia is a specific math earning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic. It includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning math facts, and a number of other related symptoms.

A number of interesting facts about dyscalculia are summarized in a newspaper article by Sharon Noguchi. Quoting from the article:

The findings are so new that there’s no widely accepted way to diagnose what’s known as dyscalculia, nor any set strategies for coping with it — even though 5 percent to 8 percent of the population is thought to suffer from math learning disability. Consider it the mathematical partner to dyslexia, which impairs reading ability.
But while researchers have explored causes of dyslexia and developed strategies for compensating, the study of dyscalculia lags about 30 years behind. As a result, many people remain stymied by math. And math dysfunction is socially accepted.

The same article mentions several important research results:

Having poor estimation skills (which can be measured even in kindergarten) is an indicator of dyscalculia.
Brain imaging studies indicate that children with dyscalculia don’t activate the parietal cortex, which is critical for number processing, in the same way that other children do.
It might be that many adults claiming that “I hate math” and “I could never do math” can trace their situation to having had to cope with dyscalculia in their math education.

A 3/28/2014 Google search on the expression test dyscalculia returned about 138 thousand hits. Here are some examples:


Learn more about curiosity at Are you interested in assessing your level of curiosity? See:

Deitering, Anne-Marie (2/6/2014). Curiosity, Browsing & Online Environments – Further Reading. Retrieved 8/15/2014 from

A free 30 question self-assessment instrument is available from Oregon State University. See the next reference.

Deitering, Anne-Marie (2/7/2014). Curiosity Self-Assessment—scoring. Retrieved 8/15/2014 from

This site provides details for scoring a free 30 question self-assessment instrument from Oregon State University that is available at


My 9/3/2014 Google search on free creativity self assessment test produced about 17 million hits.

I tried out a 10-minute 20-question test from Psychology Today. It gave me a a short report on the results and offered to sell me a longer report. I also tried the 40 question Test My Curiosity. Personally, I didn't find it particularly useful.


A self-administered test for dementia is available from Ohio State University at

Four equivalent versions of the test are available. The scoring procedures and how to interpret the results are also available. All three types of documents (test, scoring, interpretation of results) are free and can be downloaded as PDF files.

Other Human Brain Topics

There are many other human brain topics that have not been mentioned above. Examples include autism, depression, and bipolar. Discussions of these three topics are available at Psychological Tests and Quizzes.


There are many different kinds of intelligence, such as cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence. In each area there are a variety of theories and measures. You might be curious as to how well you compare with others in various areas or types of intelligence.

Cognitive Intelligence (IQ)

The idea of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is now more than a hundred years old. Continuing challenges and/or controversies include:

  • Multiple intelligences versus a single intelligence factor—usually called "g."
  • How to accurately measure IQ.
  • The effects of nature (genetics) versus nurture (environment, including diet, exercise, and schooling). How effective are environmental changes in increasing (or decreasing) IQ?
  • What difference does a person's IQ make to the person? For example, suppose that the concept of IQ had never been developed. What difference would this make to you and your life? Or, how does IQ relate to possible careers?

Cognitive intelligence is a huge area of study. A 12/1/2013 Google search of the expression mental OR cognitive intelligence produced more than 150 million hits. A recent Google search of the expression free IQ test produced more than nine million hits.

I found a reasonable level of consistency in my personal results from several of these tests. My explorations included the GIGTest and a 30-minute Classical IQ Test from Psychology Today. If you are interested in your personal IQ, it is recommended that you get three or four measures using different tests, and that you avoid the very short (very quick) tests. Remember, IQ is a very complex topic and human characteristic! A single number is a very limited representation of a person.

The IQ Comparison Site provides information about the ranges of IQ that are most frequently found in various types of careers. For example, if your IQ is under 100 you are not apt to succeed in becoming a medical doctor.

Multiple Intelligences

It can be helpful to gain some insight into the general topic of Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences discussed briefly in the Introduction. The self-assessment instrument listed here is designed to help you learn which of the multiple intelligence areas you may be stronger or weaker in. See

Emotional Intelligence

The idea of Emotional Intelligence was brought to the general public's attention by Goleman's 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ.

A 2/13/2014 Google search of the expression free Emotional Intelligence test produced about over nine million hits. See, for example, Quoting from that site:

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while other claim it is an inborn characteristic. A number of testing instruments have been developed to measure emotional intelligence, although the content and approach of each test varies. The following quiz presents a mix of self-report and situational questions related to various aspects of emotional intelligence. What is your emotional intelligence quotient? Take the quiz to learn more.

See for a 26-minute video interview of Daniel Goleman.

Social Intelligence

A 3/14/2014 Google search of the expression social intelligence produced more than 33 million hits.

A 3/14/2014 Google search of the expression free social intelligence test produced many millions of hits. For example, see Harvard University's Test Your Social Intelligence.

Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Social intelligence according to the original definition of Edward Thorndike, is "the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls, to act wisely in human relations." It is equivalent to interpersonal intelligence, one of the types of intelligences identified in Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and closely related to Emotional Intelligence. Some authors have restricted the definition to deal only with knowledge of social situations, perhaps more properly called social cognition.

Daniel Goleman says the following about Social Intelligence:

Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person. That neural bridge lets us impact the brain—and so the body—of everyone we interact with, just as they do us.
The resulting feelings have far-reaching consequences, in turn rippling throughout our body, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate biological systems from our heart to immune cells. Perhaps most astonishing, science now tracks connections between the most stressful relationships and the very operation of specific genes that regulate the immune system.

See Daniel Goleman's book Social Intelligence (2006). In addition, listen to Goleman explain some of his fundamental ideas in a short video.

Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systematizing Quotient (SQ)

Empathizing involves the ability to understand other humans, who are a very important sub-set of the organic and inorganic world. Empathy occurs when we suspend our normal single-minded focus and instead adopt a double-minded focus of attention. It thus defines our remarkable ability to infer and appropriately respond to someone else’s feelings, thoughts, and intentions. This ability is commonly called Theory of Mind.

Systematizing involves the ability to recognize, analyze, and manipulate predictably changing patterns—in effect, to figure out how things work and how to make them work better. Understanding repetitive patterns allows us to predict the future, and also to manipulate variables in order to modify and improve a function. A 120-item self-assessment instrument is available at Quoting from this website:

This is a combined version of Baron-Cohen's Empathizing Quotient (EQ) and Systemizing Quotient (SQ) tests.
The empathizing–systemizing theory developed by autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen proposes that on a level below normal personality there are individual differences in the wiring of the brain that result in two different modes a person may process information: empathizing and systemizing. The theory developed out of Baron-Cohen's work with autism where he hypothesized that the autism spectrum is an expression of extreme systemizing, he also adapted it into the extreme male brain theory of autism. E-S theory, particularly its connection to gender differences, is controversial.

The Systematizing Quotient (SQ) was developed by Baron-Cohen, Richler, Bisarya, Gurunathan, and Wheelwright (2003) and the Empathizing Quotient (EQ) was developed by Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright (2004) for use in research and to substantiate empathizing–systemizing theory.

Physical Fitness

Each of us has some control over our own physical fitness. There are a huge number of articles about physical fitness available on the Web. For example, see, a publication of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

In terms of your own physical fitness, it is easy to gather some personal baseline data and then retest once in a while to see what changes (if any) are occurring. As an example, a friend of mine recently moved into a retirement facility. He noted that he was out of shape and was going to do something about it. Walking up four flights of stairs left him quite winded. So, each day he walked up four flights of front stairs, down the hall, and then down the four flights of back stairs. After a couple of weeks he worked up to doing this twice in a row, and eventually doing this for a half-hour each day. He had achieved his goal of being able to easily handle four flights of stairs.

At a more "scientific" level, various organizations make recommendations about physical fitness. These can be stated in comparison to norms, or just as quite general recommendations.

For example, consider the number of pushups (men's style for men, women's style for women) a person of a specified age "should" be able to do. See Through testing of people with varying levels of overall physical fitness, norms can be established. Then you can test yourself against these norms. See for an example of pushup norms.

Such norms can be established for a wide variety of physical exercises and age groups. See for a number of examples.

There are many jobs that are physically demanding. Requirements to obtain a particular job might be quite simple such as the ability to move packages weighing up to 30 pounds throughout one's work shift. Jobs as a police officer or FBI agent typically make use of more detailed physical fitness measures.

For example, would you like to become an FBI agent? Quoting from their application site:

To ensure that FBI Special Agents are fully prepared to meet their responsibilities as leaders in the law enforcement community, applicants must pass a standardized Physical Fitness Test. The test consists of four mandatory events that are administered in the following order:
  1. Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute.
  2. Timed 300-meter sprint.
  3. Maximum number of push-ups (untimed).
  4. Timed one and one-half mile (1.5 mile) run.

See Scoring details. To pass the exam, a score of 12 or higher is needed.

The Marine Corps physical fitness test is somewhat similar, but more demanding.

There are a number of more general measures of physical fitness. For example, blood pressure and heart rate can be measured when one is at rest or after a prescribed amount of exercise. Body Mass Index (BMI) is easily computed and used as a measure of overweight and obesity. See

Interpreting Health Symptoms

A 3/26/2014 Google search of interpreting health symptoms produced more than 16 million hits. Here is part of the Abstract of a 2013 paper, Multiple Perspectives on Symptom Interpretation in Primary Care Research.

Assessment and management of symptoms is a main task in primary care. Symptoms may be defined as 'any subjective evidence of a health problem as perceived by the patient’. In other words, symptoms do not appear as such; symptoms are rather the result of an interpretation process. We aim to discuss different perspectives on symptom interpretation as presented in the disciplines of biomedicine, psychology and anthropology and the possible implications for our understanding of research on symptoms in relation to prevalence and diagnosis in the general population and in primary care.
Symptom experiences are embedded in a complex interplay between biological, psychological and cultural factors. From a biomedical perspective, symptoms are seen as possible indicators of disease and are characterized by parameters related to seriousness (e.g. appearance, severity, impact and temporal aspects). However, such symptom characteristics are rarely unambiguous, but merely indicate disease probability. In addition, the GP’s interpretation of presenting symptoms will also be influenced by other factors. From a psychological perspective, factors affecting interpretation are in focus (e.g. internal frame of reference, attention to sensations, illness perception and susceptibility to suggestion). These individual factors cannot stand alone either, but are influenced by the surroundings. Anthropological research suggests that personal experiences and culture form a continuous feedback relationship which influence when and how sensations are understood as symptoms of disease and acted upon.

Most people are aware of changes in their general health. For example, you wake up in the morning with a stuffy head and a sore throat. You didn't have these symptoms yesterday when you woke up. You suspect you may have a cold or the flu. Perhaps you would like a second opinion and some suggestions of possible remedies or treatments.

The WebMD site has a guide to Symptoms and a guide to Next Steps. Quoting from the site:

For a full list of symptoms, visit WebMD Symptoms A-Z.
This tool does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

When you are at Symptoms A-Z, scan down a few lines until you come to A-Z in a box. Click on it to make use of their alphabetical listing of symptoms.

Some people are much better than others at "reading their bodies." With introspection, practice, and feedback from your doctors, the Web, and other sources, you can improve your own ability.

Life Expectancy

Quoting from the Wikipedia article, Life Expectancy:

Life expectancy is the expected (in the statistical sense) number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by e_x,[a] which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience. Because life expectancy is an average, a particular person may well die many years before or many years after their "expected" survival. The term "maximum life span" has a quite different meaning. The "median life span" is also a different concept although fairly similar to life expectancy numerically in most developed countries.

A 3/26/2014 Google search of the expression life expectancy produced more than 27 million hits.

A number of websites include detailed questionnaires used to make an estimate of your life expectancy. For example, see Life Expectancy Calculator and The Longevity Game. Quoting from the second of these two references:

How long can you expect to live? We developed the Longevity Game to give you a peek into your future by identifying the factors that can lead to a healthier, more productive life.
At Northwestern Mutual, we know a thing or two about longevity because we’ve been tracking statistics that impact life since 1857. And that wealth of knowledge helped us shape the Longevity Game.
Through the game, we hope to give you insight into your daily lifestyle—plus tips on how you can make some positive changes.
Some of the factors we track in the game:
* Weight/ body mass index (BMI)
* Drinking
* Smoking
* How you handle stress
* Driving record

Eye Tests

The human eye is very complex. A great many people use eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgical procedures to help improve their vision.

Typically, tests for various possible vision problems are conducted by professionals who have the knowledge and skills to help remedy any problems they detect. However, it is common for people to detect that they can make effective use of a magnifying glass or reading glasses, and purchase a device that meets their needs. Also, the electronic displays in tablets and other computers contain built-in features to make the display larger or smaller. So, hundreds of millions of people self-assess their on-screen reading needs and make adjustments of text size to fit their personal needs.


Quoting from Astigmatism:

Astigmatism is a condition of impaired eye sight which is a result of an irregular curvature of the cornea or lens. Blurred vision is the main symptom of astigmatism.
Astigmatism is a curable eye condition and may be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK surgery.

The website contains a free astigmatism test to find out whether or not you suffer from astigmatism. Quoting from the site:

This is a simple eye test using images to test for astigmatism. This test can be considered as a basic home based eye exam which will help you decide whether or not to consult an eye specialist.

Color Blindness

Quoting from WebMD:

Color blindness means that you have trouble seeing red, green, or blue or a mix of these colors. It’s rare that a person sees no color at all.
Color blindness is also called a color vision problem.
A color vision problem can change your life. It makes it harder to learn and read, and you may not be able to have certain careers. But children and adults with color vision problems can learn to make up for their problems seeing color.

Do you have some color blindness? A 3/29/20114 Google search of the expression free test color blindness produced over 1 million hits. Here are some examples:

Are you color blind? Take our free test here.
Results may vary depending on display quality. This test is not a medical diagnosis. By taking this test you understand and accept that your test results may be anonymously recorded on our server for quality assurance purposes. Please consult an eye care professional for more information regarding color vision deficiency.

Click here for an interesting visual illusion.

Visual Acquity

Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Visual acuity (VA) is acuteness or clearness of vision, which is dependent on optical and neural factors, i.e., (i) the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye, (ii) the intactness and functioning of the retina, and (iii) the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain.
Normal visual acuity is commonly referred to as 20/20 vision (even though acuity in normally sighted people is generally higher), the metric equivalent of which is 6/6 vision. At 20 feet or 6 meters, a human eye with nominal performance is able to separate contours that are approximately 1.75 mm apart. [4] A vision of 20/40 corresponds to lower than nominal performance, a vision of 20/10 to better performance.
In the expression 20/x vision, the numerator (20) is the distance in feet between the subject and the chart, and the denominator (x) is the distance at which a person with 20/20 acuity would just discern the same optotype. Thus, 20/20 means "normal" vision and 20/40 means that a person with 20/20 vision would discern the same optotype from 40 feet away. This is equivalent to saying that with 20/40 vision, the person possesses half the resolution and needs twice the size to discern the optotype.

A 3/27/2014 Google search of the expression free self-assessment visual acuity produced about 240 thousand hits. Here are a few examples:

Reaction Time

A 3/28/2014 Google search of the expression test reaction time produced about 238 thousand hits. For example, see:

Education for Careers and Further Education

Nowadays our precollege educational systems are emphasizing preparation for careers and college. Of course, there is much more to life than careers and college. However, these are certainly two areas to keep in mind as you pursue your informal and formal education.

General Educational Development (GED)

Quoting from the Wikipedia:

General Educational Development (GED)[1] tests are a group of five subject tests which, when passed, certify that the test taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills.
Although the "GED" initialism is frequently mistaken as meaning "general education degree" or "general education diploma", the American Council on Education, which owns the GED trademark, coined the initialism to identify "tests of general educational development" that measure proficiency in science, mathematics, social studies, reading, and writing. Passing the GED test gives those who did not complete high school the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency credential, in the majority of the United States, Canada, or abroad.
The GED Testing Service, now a joint venture of the American Council on Education and Pearson, is the sole developer for the GED test. The test is taken on computer, but tests must be taken in person. States and jurisdictions award a Certificate of High School Equivalency or similarly titled credential to persons who meet the passing score requirements.

Several other companies are now developing tests that various states have adopted or are thinking of adopting. These tests can be used to determine a student's readiness for jobs or further education that depend on a high school degree.

A 3/27/2014 Google search of the expression free self-assessment GED test produced about 285 thousand hits.

Click here to access a large collection of free practice tests from Test Prep Review. A GED test is among the collection.

Here are a few other sites offering free practice tests. Be aware that sites offering free practice tests are typically in the business of selling materials and courses designed to help prepare students for the GED test.


This section presents information about self-assessment for several aspects of reading and writing.

Adult Literacy

A 3/17/2014 Google search of the term adult literacy free self-assessment test produced more than 1.6 million hits.

Our schooling system places considerable emphasis on literacy. From time to time the U.S. Federal Government gathers data on adult literacy. Quoting from

The National Assessment for Adult Literacy Test Questions Tool provides easy access to the questions and answers from the 1985, 1992, and 2003 assessments that are released to the public. There are now 146 questions available in this tool.

The website includes data on the percent of adults who correctly answered the various questions. You can do self-assessment using these questions and comparing your score with others.

The site indicates:

One measure of literacy is the percentage of adults who perform at four achievement levels: Below Basic, Basic, Intermediate, and Proficient. In each type of literacy, 13 percent of adults were at or above Proficient (indicating they possess the skills necessary to perform complex and challenging literacy activities) in 2003. Twenty-two percent of adults were Below Basic (indicating they possess no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills) in quantitative literacy, compared with 14 percent in prose literacy and 12 percent in document literacy.

Many countries are concerned about their levels of adult literacy. See, for example, a discussion of adult literacy in Canada. A free adult literacy instrument designed for Canadians is [ Free access to self-assessment].

Reading Speed and Reading Comprehension

Do you know the answers to the following questions?

  • How fast do you read in different subject areas?
  • What is your level of comprehension when your are reading in different subject areas?
  • What is your online reading speed as compared to your offline (reading from hard copy) reading speed?

A 3/26/2014 Google search of the expression reading speed produced over 440 million hits. Some of the articles focus on reading speed while others focus on speed reading. The latter discuss ways to increase your reading speed to a much higher rate than that of most people.

The article, What Speed Do You Read? provides an example of the free reading speed tests available on the Web. After reading the short section you will be given a short test for comprehension, and then your results will be compared with average reading speeds of various groups of students. My speed is at the level of "average adults," and far below that which might be expected of a person with my level of education. I attribute my slow reading speed partly to having studied math and other sciences for many years. In reading math and science materials, the emphasis is on comprehension rather than speed. A complex math or science page may take many minutes (or perhaps hours) to read and understand.

Here is another example of a site that measures reading speed and comprehension: Measure Your Reading IQ. This site indicates that, on average, people read about 25% slower from a computer screen than when reading from material printed on good quality paper.

As mentioned above, there is a great deal of literature on speed reading. Quoting the Wikipedia:

Speed reading is a technique used to improve one's ability to read quickly. Speed reading methods include chunking and eliminating subvocalization. The many available speed reading training programs include books, videos, software, and seminars.
Skimming alone should not be used when complete comprehension of the text is the objective. Skimming is mainly used when researching and getting an overall idea of the text. Nonetheless, when time is limited, skimming or skipping over text can aid comprehension.
The World Championship Speed Reading Competition stresses reading comprehension as critical. The top contestants typically read around 1,000 to 2,000 words per minute with approximately 50% comprehension or above.

Readability of Written Materials

A 3/26/2014 Google search of the term readability produced over 4 million hits. Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Readability is the ease in which text can be read and understood.
Readability is distinguished from legibility which is a measure of how easily individual letters or characters can be distinguished from each other.

You might want to test the readability level of materials you have written for a particular audience, or the readability level of materials that you want to have other people (such as your children or students) read.

A number of methods have been developed to measure readability of written materials. The Wikipedia article cited above discusses the Flesch formula, the Dale-Chall formula, the Gunning Fog formula, the Fry Readability Graph, McLauthlin's SMOG formula, and the FORCAST formula.

Microsoft Word contains a Tools menu. When you select Spelling and Grammar, the computer will do a check of the spelling and of the grammar. It will also calculate both the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of the document.

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level tests are used extensively in the field of education. The Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level Formula translates the 0–100 score of the Flesch Reading Ease test to a U.S. grade level. This makes it easier for teachers, parents, librarians, and others to judge the readability level of various books and texts.

An examination of the formula in the Flesch-Kincaid test indicates the readability level of a document can be decreased by using shorter sentences and fewer syllables per word. Quoting again from the Wikipedia document cited above:

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss comes close [to the lowest possible score], averaging 5.7 words per sentence and 1.02 syllables per word, with a grade level of −1.3.

This is a pre-kindergarten reading level.

Study Skills

A 2/27/2014 Google search of the expression free study skills self-assessment produced over 20 million hits. Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Study skills or study strategies are approaches applied to learning. They are generally critical to success in school, considered essential for acquiring good grades, and useful for learning throughout one's life.
While often left up to the student and their support network, study skills are increasingly taught in High School and at the University level.
Study skills are discrete techniques that can be learned, usually in a short time, and applied to all or most fields of study. They must therefore be distinguished from strategies that are specific to a particular field of study e.g. music or technology, and from abilities inherent in the student, such as aspects of intelligence or learning styles.

Undoubtedly you have developed personal strategies for when and how to study. You may have developed some techniques that help you to memorize a list—such as a list of names, a list of dates, or a list of spelling words and their definitions. However, there is a good chance that what you have discovered on your own does not adequately reflect the research on effective practices.

Here is an article that reports on research designed to identify the more effective study skills:

Woods, Janice (1/12/2013). What Study Strategies Make the Grade? PsychCentral. Retrieved 3/27/2014 from Quoting from the article:
Some of the most popular strategies used by students, including highlighting and rereading, don’t show much promise for improving learning or grades, according to new research.
Schools and parents spend a great deal of money on technology and programs to improve student achievement, even though evidence often isn’t available to firmly establish that they work,” said John Dunlosky, Ph.D., a researcher at Kent State University, who led a team of psychological scientists in a review of the 10 most common learning techniques used by students.
While the 10 techniques vary widely in effectiveness, two strategies—practice testing and distributed practice—made the grade, receiving the highest overall utility rating, according to the researchers.

Here are a few examples of free study stills self-assessment sites. Each provides a relatively short set of questions and then an analysis of the results.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Academic Excellence provides recommended links to 10 sites.

Information Literacy Skills

A multiple-choice questionnaire designed for use at 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade levels has been developed by the Institute for Library and Information Literacy Education. See Quoting from the website:

TRAILS is a knowledge assessment with multiple-choice questions targeting a variety of information literacy skills based on 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th grade standards. This Web-based system was developed to provide an easily accessible and flexible tool for school librarians and teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses in the information-seeking skills of their students. There is no charge for using TRAILS.

College Placement Tests

Students entering college are typically required to take placement tests designed to measure their preparation for various courses. Many colleges and other organizations offer sample tests. Usually these are accompanied by study guides.

Currently, the U.S. Federal Government is pushing two major goals for precollege education: a) job and/or career readiness; and b) readiness for higher education.

Most students currently in high school have gained sufficient education to enable them to seek out and make use of information about the requirements for various jobs/careers, and the prerequisites for admission to various higher education and training programs. The "popular press" contains many articles about these topics. Here is an example of a college readiness article written by Kelsey Sheehy:

Sheehy, K. (11/26/2013). Colleges with the Highest Freshman Retention Rates. US News. Retrieved 3/29/2014 from Quoting from this article:
Results from college entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT suggest that most high school graduates are not ready for college. It is not surprising, then, that as many as 1 in 3 college freshmen leave after their first year.
Some transfer to another college. Others drop out entirely. Their reasons vary from money troubles or academic issues to homesickness or a change in their major.

Students have free access to many different free tests that will provide information about whether they are ready for college. Thus, it is rather surprising that so many students enter a college or university and find themselves quite unprepared for the academic situations they encounter.

Community Colleges

A 3/29/2014 Google search of the expression free community college placement test returned over 74 million hits. Likely you will want to look at the tests provided by some of the community colleges or two-year colleges that you are thinking of attending. Here are a few examples that help illustrate the types of materials that are available:

  • Accuplacer Sample Questions for Students. This website contains sample tests on Sentence Skills, Reading Comprehension, Writing, Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, College-level Math, ESL Reading, ESL Sentence Meaning, ESL and Language Use. Answer keys are given at the end of the 25-page website.
  • Portland, Oregon, Community College. The home page for this website indicates that tests are available for Writing Skills, Reading, Mathematics, and English as a Second Language. There is also a section on Test-taking Strategies.
All new students enrolling in credit classes are required to meet placement requirements in the areas of Reading, English and Math prior to being able to register for credit courses. Placement will be determined through the best combination of any of the following actions:
Completion of the Placement Test (ACCUPLACER), submission and acceptance of ACT or SAT Scores, submission and acceptance of Advanced Placement (AP) transcripts or successful evaluation of transcripts from another college or university.
The ACCUPLACER placement test is comprised of three sections. Each test will have 12-20 questions.
Reading Comprehension - 20 questions related to reading skills, such as identifying the main idea and making inferences.
Sentence Skills (English) - 20 questions related to sentence structure and grammar.
Mathematics (Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra or College Level Math) - All new students will take an Elementary Algebra test; based on score, some students may also take an Arithmetic or College Level Math test.

Four-year Colleges and Universities

The tests have been created to determine whether you are ready for college level math courses and to place you into the course(s) for which you are best prepared. The General Math Placement Tests are intended for students who will be entering general math or precalculus classes. The Advanced Math Placement Test is designed for students who wish to enroll in calculus. You are not expected to learn new material before taking the tests but to review what you have previously studied in your high school math courses.

Many sites offer a free sample math placement test. The tests typically are multiple choice. These are "graded" by the computer system, so that at the end of the test you can determine your score. Interestingly, my brief perusal of a number of these sample tests indicates that they do not provide an analysis of why an answer is wrong or any analysis of what you seem to know and what you seem not to know.

The four multiple-choice tests below contain questions similar to those that you will find on the English Placement Test (EPT). To begin a test, click one of the links below.
* Reading Skills Test 1 (30 min)
* Composing Skills Test 1 (30 min)
* Reading Skills Test 2 (30 min)
* Composing Skills Test 2 (30 min)


Do a Web search of the expression "reading placement test" and you will get a number of hits. For example:

US Citizenship Test

American citizenship bestows the right to vote, improves the likelihood of family members living in other countries to come and live in the US, gives eligibility for federal jobs, and can be a way to demonstrate loyalty to the US.

Click here for a large collection of sample questions of the type asked on the US citizenship test.

Test yourself. The think about being asked similar questions about another country to gain citizenship in that country—or, just to understand and communicate with people of that country!

Personality and Other Personal Inventories

A recent Google search of the expression self-report personality inventory produced more than 400 thousand hits. There are many different kinds of self-report inventories. Quoting from the Wikipedia:

A self-report inventory is a type of psychological test in which a patient fills out a survey or questionnaire with or without the help of an investigator. Self-report inventories often ask direct questions about symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits associated with one or many mental disorders or personality types in order to easily gain insight into a patient's personality or illness.
The biggest problem with self-report inventories is that patients may exaggerate symptoms in order to make their situation seem worse, or they may under-report the severity or frequency of symptoms in order to minimize their problems. For this reason, self-report inventories should be used only for measuring for symptom change and severity and should never be solely used to diagnose a mental disorder. Clinical discretion is advised for all self-report inventories.

The following websites are only a very small sample of the wide variety of tests available in this category.

Myers Briggs

Quoting from The Meyers & Briggs Foundation:

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.
"Perception involves all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings, or ideas. Judgment involves all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived. If people differ systematically in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ correspondingly in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills."

A 3/28/2014 Google search of the expression free Myers Briggs test produced more than a million hits. Here are some examples:

Over the sixty-five plus years since its inception in 1943, the MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® has evolved and been perfected through continual test research and development of ever more accurate questions. Many, many millions of people have taken the test (actually the Indicator is an inventory or psychological instrument rather than a test - as a test suggests right and wrong answers. All answer choices in the MBTI are equally desired). The MBTI research data base is huge. The subtle enhancements to recently released "M" edition of the inventory were the product of a landmark normative study involving thousands of people and over two years of work by a team of experts in the field of psychometrics (psychological testing).
Learn about the MBTI personality test. Since it is considered a breach of professional ethics to administer an MBTI ® without person-to-person follow-up verification by a qualified practitioner, none of the free personality tests purporting to determine your MBTI or Myers Briggs Personality Type on the Web are the "real thing." The Web is replete with "inventories" that purport to measure personality types, psychological type or the 16 Myers Briggs personality types (like the David Keirsey type-temperament indicator)! Besides only being approximations of the "real thing," I am aware of none that have met commonly accepted psychometric standards for reliability and validity. Bottom-line. While every inventory has room for improvement, the genuine MBTI ® is the "gold standard."

Learning Styles

The concept of learning styles has long been accepted by many educators, parents, and others. However, there is very little evidence to support claims that educating students via their favored learning style(s) helps them to learn more, better, and/or faster.

The following is quoted from the abstract of Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence, available at

The term “learning styles” refers to the concept that individuals differ in regard to what mode of instruction or study is most effective for them. Proponents of learning-style assessment contend that optimal instruction requires diagnosing individuals' learning style and tailoring instruction accordingly.
The learning-styles view has acquired great influence within the education field, and is frequently encountered at levels ranging from kindergarten to graduate school. There is a thriving industry devoted to publishing learning-styles tests and guidebooks for teachers, and many organizations offer professional development workshops for teachers and educators built around the concept of learning styles.

The article then goes on to argue that there is little evidence to support claims of the value of trying to teach to an individual student's learning style.

A 3/28/2014 Google search of learning styles produced over 5 million hits. Near the top of the list were articles such as Learning Styles Debunked, The Case Against Learning Styles, and The Myth of Learning Styles. In brief summary, research indicates there's no evidence to support the widely held belief that there are distinct visual, auditory and kinetic learning styles.

In spite of a plethora of such research studies, there are still a number of websites designed to help a person determine their learning style. Here are several examples:

I (David Moursund) find it interesting that, in the face of strong research indicating the lack of effectiveness in trying to make educational use of differing learning styles, many people still believe in the concept and many companies make money by exploiting these beliefs.

Big Five Personalty Test

Quoting from the Wikipedia:

In psychology, the Big Five personality traits are five broad domains or dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. The theory based on the Big Five factors is called the Five Factor Model (FFM). The Big Five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
In a 1980 symposium in Honolulu, four prominent researchers, Lewis Goldberg, Naomi Takemoto-Chock, Andrew Comrey, and John M. Digman, reviewed the available personality tests of the day. They concluded that the tests which held the most promise measured a subset of five common factors, just as Norman had discovered in 1963.

A 3/28/2014 Google search of the expression Research on Big Five Personality Test produced over 57 million hits. A 3/28/2014 Google search of the expression free self-assessment Big Five Personality Test produced more than 3 million hits.

One of these hits is from Psychology Today's Big Five Personality Test:

Are you ready for some serious self-reflection? This test is an overarching assessment of your personality - you will come away from taking it with a much richer understanding of who you are as a person. Based on our most popular personality test, the AMPM Personality Profile, it should really get you thinking about what it means to be you!
Please note that depending on the consistency of your responses, you will be assigned between 25 and 50 questions. We ask the extra follow up questions to ensure that your personality is assessed as accurately as possible.
After finishing the test, you will receive a list of your strengths and the areas you will need to work on. You will then have the option to purchase the full results with score breakdown, detailed interpretation, and advice. [Bold added for emphasis.]

Note the commercial nature of the site and the bold underlined sentence in the above-quoted material.

The Big Five has received a lot of publicity. For example, Dr. Phil is a well-known television personality. He offers a free 10-question Big Five test on one of his websites.

The Big Five is one of more than 20 free self-assessment resources available from Louisburg College Counseling Center. Quoting from the site:

Self-assessments and screening tools are not a substitute for actual professional advice. These tools do NOT provide a diagnosis. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional for any needed care and advice. Neither Louisburg College nor the suppliers of the self-assessments accept any responsibility for decisions made based upon the use of these tools.

Just for Fun

This section provides access to some "fun" self-assessment sites. Enjoy!

Which Are You?

The "Which are you?" fad is quite popular. For example, which fantasy or science fiction character are you? Take a short quiz and have fun with the results! Here are some examples:

Music Play List

Select an artist or a song you like, and Pandora creates a play list of similar songs based on deep data about melody, harmony, rhythm, and instrumentation. See Pandora. The site is ad-supported.

Links to Other IAE Resources

This is a collection of IAE publications related to the IAE document you are currently reading. It is not updated very often, so important recent IAE documents may be missing from the list.

IAE Blog

All IAE Blog Entries.

A Personal Digital Filing Cabinet for Every Teacher.

Are We Missing the Point of Effective Assessment?

College and Career Readiness.

Setting and Achieving Personal Learning Goals.

IAE Newsletter

All IAE Newsletters.

Creating an Appropriate 21st Century Education: Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Learning on Your Own. "They know enough who know how to learn."

Science Is Repeatable and Accurate Measurements.

Understanding and Mastering Complexity: An Introduction.

IAE-pedia (IAE's Wiki)

Home Page of the IAE Wiki.

Popular IAE Wiki Pages.

Brain Science.

Education for Increasing Expertise.

Empowering Learners and Teachers.

Self Assessment.

I-A-E Books and Miscellaneous Other

David Moursund's Free Books.

David Moursund's Learning and Leading with Technology Editorials

Additional Topics Being Considered

Here are some topics that are being considered for addition to the website:

Four-year Colleges and Universities

The tests have been created to determine whether you are ready for college level math courses and to place you into the course(s) for which you are best prepared. The General Math Placement Tests are intended for students who will be entering general math or precalculus classes. The Advanced Math Placement Test is designed for students who wish to enroll in calculus. You are not expected to learn new material before taking the tests but to review what you have previously studied in your high school math courses.

Many sites offer a free sample math placement test. The tests typically are multiple choice. These are "graded" by the computer system, so that at the end of the test you can determine your score. Interestingly, my brief perusal of a number of these sample tests indicates that they do not provide an analysis of why an answer is wrong or any analysis of what you seem to know and what you seem not to know.

The four multiple-choice tests below contain questions similar to those that you will find on the English Placement Test (EPT). To begin a test, click one of the links below.
* Reading Skills Test 1 (30 min)
* Composing Skills Test 1 (30 min)
* Reading Skills Test 2 (30 min)
* Composing Skills Test 2 (30 min)

Author or Authors

The initial version of this document was developed by David Moursund.