The Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test (CAST) is a parental questionnaire to screen for autism spectrum conditions. In this validation study, the CAST was distributed to 1925 children aged 5-11 in mainstream Cambridgeshire schools. A sample of participants received a full diagnostic assessment, conducted blind to screen status. The sensitivity of the CAST, at a designated cut-point of 15, was 100 percent, the specificity was 97 percent and the positive predictive value was 50 percent, using the group's consensus diagnosis as the gold standard. The accuracy indices varied with the case definition used. The sensitivity of the accuracy statistics to case definition and to missing data was explored. The CAST is useful as a screening test for autism spectrum conditions in epidemiological research. There is not currently enough evidence to recommend the use of the CAST as a screening test within a public health screening programme in the general population.