How ADHD Is Diagnosed

Using the Quotient System to Test for ADHD Symptoms

The quotient system is an ADHD test that uses a series of computerized performance tasks and psychological questions to identify attention deficit symptoms. Ari Tuckman Psy.D., MBA, explains.

An ADHD test being administered on a laptop computer
Laptop on wooden table with blackboard in background

Is the quotient system an ADHD test?

Ari Tuckman: It is a high-tech version of continuous performance tasks (CPTs), psychological tests that have been around for decades. The test gives data to the clinician about the core symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

How does a person take this ADHD test?

AT: She is asked to respond to certain images on a computer screen or to certain sounds, but not to others. An adult might be asked to press a button when an eight-pointed star appears on the screen, but not when a four-pointed star is displayed. The system has an infrared sensor, which records how often the person moves during the test — people with ADHD move more than those without the condition.

Who administers the test, and how long does it take to complete?

AT: The test is given by a psychologist or physician, nurse or technician. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.

[Self-Test: Could You Have Adult ADHD?]

How does the quotient system analyze the subject’s responses?

AT: It analyzes the pattern of mistakes that the subject makes — responding impulsively when he shouldn’t, or failing to respond to the image or sound, because of distraction. The system then compares his responses to those of people with and without ADHD or other conditions. These results are part of a comprehensive ADHD evaluation that should also include a history of the patient.

Does the test make it easier for a professional to diagnose ADHD?

AT: The system provides additional information when a patient’s diagnosis is unclear. The quotient system can sometimes help when a child with ADHD has to undergo psychological testing in order to qualify for accommodations at school.

Is the test covered by insurance companies?

AT: There may be some reimbursement for the test. Call your health-care company to find out. Also, talk with providers who use the test about their experience with your insurance company.