Welcome to FOCUS
FOCUS is a computerised measurement of Attentional Control. Attentional control is the ability to remain focused on goal-relevant stimuli and information in the presence of potentially interfering distractions.
What does FOCUS measure?
FOCUS measures several aspects (called constructs) that influence Attentional Control. These constructs are Consistency, Performance, Impulsivity, and Distractions (audio and visual).
Consistency is the measurement of the quality of reacting or performing in a similar way in terms of accuracy and responsiveness when having to execute boring, mundane or repetitive tasks. Consistent behaviour results in achieving a level of performance which does not vary greatly in quality over time. Inconsistent behaviour results in a fluctuation of the quality execution of the task due to the individual having trouble maintaining his or her focus, especially when the task at hand is boring or repetitive.
Performance is the accomplishment of a given task measured against pre-set known standards of accuracy and speed, i.e. being attentive to completing the task accurately and on time. Overall performance of the individual is measured in terms of being accurate versus inaccurate and being on-time.
Impulsivity (or being impulsive) involves a tendency to act suddenly and without careful thought, reflection or consideration of the consequences. Impulsive actions are typically poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation that often result in undesirable consequences. Impulsivity is both the tendency to respond prior to the evoking stimuli being presented (i.e. guessing which stimulus is presented) and the tendency to respond when he or she should not (i.e. incorrectly responding to the non-target).
Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of the individual from the desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information.
Visual distraction – determining the impact of visual changes in the environment on the individual’s performance.
Auditory distraction – determining the impact of auditory changes in the environment on the individual’s performance.
FOCUS is Norm-referenced
Norm-referenced refers to standardised tests that are designed to compare and rank test takers in relation to one another. Norm-referenced tests report whether test takers performed better or worse than a hypothetical average student, which is determined by comparing scores against the performance results of a statistically selected group of test takers, typically of the same age or grade level, who have already taken the test. Calculating norm-referenced scores is called the “norming process,” and the comparison group is known as the “norming group.” Norming groups typically comprise only a small subset of previous test takers, not all or even most previous test takers. Test developers use a variety of statistical methods to select norming groups, interpret raw scores, and determine performance levels. In FOCUS norming occur as per relevant age groups. Interpretation of the FOCUS results are therefore linked to the relevant age group norm.
Why use Focus?
- No site licenses
- No hardware
- Large norm group and continuously expanding
- Distance testing
- Only cpt that measures effects of distractions
The FOCUS assessment is valuable to me as a professional as the constructs measure skills that can be applied throughout different target groups. Whether you want to measure the distractibility of a student in a classroom, an admin worker in an office environment or a sportsman on a sports field, the skills measured with this tool can be helpful throughout multiple areas and age groups. I appreciate the objectivity of the FOCUS assessment and the user-friendly way the reports and graphs are reflected.
I really like using FOCUS. Providing good info to people and helping me plan therapy. Really appreciate the time you took with me for training.
The FOCUS assessment is a 20 minute test that measures four aspects of attentional control (consistency, performance, impulsivity and the effect of auditory and visual distraction on concentration). It is an objective tool to measure concentration scientifically.
What I like about FOCUS is that it is user-friendly for both the administrator and the test-taker. Only one button (the space bar) is being used during the test, this makes it uncomplicated for younger test-takers as well as for people that is not familiar with a computer. FOCUS is norm-referenced with South African norm groups. Immediately after administration a computer generated report is available. The scores are displayed on a bar chart against the norm group, this simplify the process of interpretation. This visual illustration also makes the feedback process much easier to understand.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many people participated in the research (establishing of the norms)?
More than 3000 subjects with ages varying from 5 to 85 formed part of the research group. The research is ongoing and the norms will be updated yearly.
Who can be tested?
FOCUS as a computerised measurement is to be used to determine fluctuations in attentional control in terms of consistency, overall performance over a pre-set period of time, impulsivity, decline in performance and the impact of distractors, i.e. auditory and visual. FOCUS can be administered on any individual, preferably from the age of 5. The use of FOCUS in determining attentional control for Children, Students, Adults (Personal or in the workplace), Elderly / Pensioners.
How does it work?
It is very simple. All you have to do is to react to a stimuli in the form of a star. When the yellow star appears, you need to press the space bar as fast as you can. When the outlined star appears, you must do nothing.
Why is it so boring?
Tests for Attentional Control have to be boring (not stimulate interest). It is in boring situations that we tend to lose control the fastest.
How does the distractions work?
Audio distractions appear throughout the test at predetermined times in the form of people talking in the distance, mimicking a typical classroom or work environment. Visual distractions take the form of 3D characters that walk on and off the screen at predetermined intervals.
How can it benefit a professional working with ADHD?
Apart from the fact that it gives a professional an idea of how the subject performs as compared to a norm group of the same sex and age in terms of attentional control, it also provides a view on how much the individual is distracted (audio and visually).
What are the advantages to using FOCUS?
As far as computerised performance tests (CPT’s) go, FOCUS stands way above the crowd. It is the first test of this kind that tests for impulsivity, reaction speed and distractions (both audio and visual) at the same time. FOCUS is inexpensive. You also do not have to pay for different site licenses – once you are accredited you can have as many testing stations as you want. This will save you time, since you can test several subjects at the same time. Online training and accreditation is provided in an easy-to-use-and-understand way.
How was FOCUS started?
FOCUS was developed jointly by Afriforte who are leaders in statistics, psychometrics and tool development, Dr. Wilma Coetzer, an industrial psychologist and Prof Deon Visser and his wife, Karin, owners of Biolink. The idea was to develop an affordable, unique test for attentional control and including audio and visual distractions.
Is there training involved?
Training on how to use the software is part of the accreditation process and is online where you can work at your own pace and time.
How do I get accredited?
Accreditation is online. The training takes you through several stages. After every stage you will have to write a short test. If you reach 90 % or more for the test, you can move on.
Do you intend to do research?
We are actively busy writing several research papers, the first of which will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals as early as November 2016.