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Understanding the Examiner's Guidelines for Check Test

In our previous articles, we delved into the various competencies assessed in the standards check and check tests for Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). This article shifts focus to the examiner’s guidelines, detailing how these competencies are assessed and what ADIs can expect on the day of their check tests.

Overview of the Standards Check and ADI Check Test

While we don't have detailed guidance on how the ADI Check Test is scored in Ireland we can review how it is scored in the UK.

The UK standards check introduced in April 2014 evaluates ADIs across three broad competencies: lesson planning, risk management, and teaching and learning strategies. Each of these categories contains several sub-competencies, totaling 17 in all. The scoring system ranges from 0 to 3 points per competency, with a maximum possible score of 51 points. The final score determines the grade awarded to the ADI.

Scoring System

  • 0 Points: No evidence of competence demonstrated.
  • 1 Point: Few elements of competence demonstrated.
  • 2 Points: Competence demonstrated in most elements.
  • 3 Points: Competence demonstrated in all elements.

Key Competencies in Focus

Lesson Planning

  • Did the ADI identify the pupil's learning goals and needs?
  • Was the agreed lesson structure appropriate for the pupil's experience and ability?
  • Were the practice areas suitable?
  • Was the lesson plan adapted as needed?

Risk Management

  • Did the ADI ensure the pupil understood the shared responsibility for risk?
  • Were directions and instructions clear and timely?
  • Was the ADI aware of the surroundings and the pupil's actions?
  • Was intervention timely and appropriate?
  • Was sufficient feedback provided on safety-critical incidents?

Teaching and Learning Strategies

  • Was the teaching style suited to the pupil's learning style and ability?
  • Was the pupil encouraged to analyse problems and take responsibility for their learning?
  • Were opportunities and examples used to clarify learning outcomes?
  • Was the technical information given comprehensive, appropriate, and accurate?
  • Was feedback appropriate and timely?
  • Were the pupil's queries followed up and answered?
  • Did the ADI maintain a nondiscriminatory manner throughout the session?
  • Was the pupil encouraged to reflect on their performance?

Check Test Examiner's Guidelines

The examiner’s guidelines provide a framework for assessing each competency. For example, in lesson planning, the examiner evaluates if the ADI identified the pupil's learning goals and needs by actively listening, asking suitable questions, and interpreting verbal and non-verbal cues. An ADI who fails to engage the pupil effectively may score low in this competency.

Examiners are trained to recognise that each ADI has a unique teaching style, and the assessment emphasises the instructor's ability to communicate and engage the learner. Overlapping competencies are common, and examiners must ensure consistent scoring across related competencies.

Types of Pupils

The standards check can involve various types of pupils:

  • Beginner or Partly Trained
  • Trained or Test Standard
  • Newly Qualified
  • Experienced Qualified
No roleplay option is available, and clear guidelines dictate the scenarios that might result in an immediate fail, such as scoring seven or less in risk management or failing to handle safety-critical incidents appropriately.

Reflective Logs

Reflection is a vital part of the standards check for both the instructor and the pupil. The DVSA recommends that instructors complete a reflective log, focusing on what went well, what did not go well, and what could be improved. This log, while not part of the formal assessment, underscores the importance of self-evaluation in professional development. In Ireland this is an included feature of the Essential Driver Training (EDT) program.

Preparing for the Check Test

On the day of the standards check, instructors should leave their pupil in the car while they brief the examiner on the pupil’s details, goals, and lesson plan. Instructors should know their area well and plan a lesson that lasts about an hour, ending at the test centre. Allow an additional 15 minutes for the debriefing session post-assessment.

Examiners may take notes during the assessment, but these notes are destroyed afterward. The standards check form alone records the outcome of the assessment.

Coaching and Client-Centred Learning

The standards check emphasises a client-centred approach, encouraging instructors to engage pupils in discussions about real-world driving situations they might encounter post-test. This approach aligns with much of our driver education philosophy, which addresses journey-specific factors and the impact of the driver’s personality, goals, and emotional state on their driving.

The Irish Check Test and UK standards check offers ADIs an opportunity to showcase their teaching methods and commitment to client-centred learning. By understanding and applying the examiner's guidelines, instructors can ensure that learning takes place effectively and that value for money is provided. Reflecting on current practices and adapting to meet these standards will help instructors succeed in their standards check and continue to deliver high-quality driving instruction.

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