Also what questions could i use to test someones abilty to think of different uses for objects.
Are you hiring ninjas?
Yeah, i agree with what you said but i didn't want to write an essay because then i would not get a reply. Age/mental state pre-university. The use of objects Scanlan refers to as Flexbility of use, refering to the skill of applying objects to certain situations where programming, but the scanlan indicates it can be tested, but i dont see how it can easily.
Maybe there are some tests that are highly correlated with abstraction ability. For example, suppose you gave the examinee a shuffled deck of cards and asked him to sort it in a particular order. Then have him shuffle it and then pick a different way of sorting it in that particular order. See how many ways he can think of. This is not an objectively measured test or one that's efficient to administer. (I don't know if it would be an effective test, either -- my point is that a good test might be some particular problem such as this one. I assume you realize that I'm not an expert on testing, I'm a babbling idiot on a message board.)
There are also the tests that some computer science teachers gave students which showed new people who had never programmed before some really simple pseudocode and asked them what the given program's output would be. (I forget whether they gave some examples of code with output, too.) Those students who adopted a consistent mental model of how the program would work were the ones who ended up doing well in the class.
But is that measuring abstraction ability? Is it measuring something correlated with abstraction ability?
Ah, not a babbling idiot on a message board at all. The work (or one work) that you may be talking about is Dehnadi, some others did similar work before him on mental models. I've read all that, very interesting, i think a correct mental model is similar in that it is an ability but not the same. I like your cards idea. I cant think how to translate it into something i can use. But thank you very much!