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SMART : A pilot validation study of a new test of attention



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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent externalizing disorders that can cause impairments in attention and concentration. It can impact many aspects of an individual’s educational, social, and emotional adjustment. As it is important to accurately diagnose whether an individual has ADHD, it is essential to use a measure that reduces as much technical error as possible. The purpose of this study was to test the validity of a new electronic measure of attention (the The Stewart Machine for Attention Response Timing (SMART)) which does not rely on a separate computer or operating system to present stimuli or collect results. Undergraduate participants from the University of Saskatchewan and Concordia University College of Alberta were asked to complete the SMART, the Brief Test of Attention, and fill out a short questionnaire based on the DSM-IV-TR, regarding attention behaviours and past diagnosis. Psychometric properties of the SMART were examined and showed no significant differences between the participant groups (by province) except on the number of participants with prior diagnosis of attention difficulties (with a greater number of Saskatchewan participants with prior diagnosis). There was not a significant difference between the SMART trial one and trial two except on the response time variable, indicating that the distracter story included in trial two did not make a significant difference on performance. Inspection of the four time quadrants revealed internal consistency on all measures except for the response time variable, in which the fourth time quadrant in which response time was significantly quicker. Exploration of the concurrent validity between the BTA and the SMART revealed significant correlations between the BTA and the response time, response time variability and total error scores, with the strongest relationship with the total error score. The SMART trial two total error score showed utility in identifying individuals who have attention difficulties as identified by the BTA. It is hoped that this study will make a significant contribution to the assessment of ADHD, the accuracy of diagnosis, and the utility of technologically-based measures.



ADHD, Assessment, SMART, BTA, Validity



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Graduate Studies and Research


Educational Psychology and Special Education


Claypool, Tim


Kelly, Ivan;Morrison, Dirk


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