Standards Check Advice for Approved Driving Instructors
How the Standards Check is Booked
You’ll get a letter and an email (if you have registered your email address) from the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) asking you to go for your Standards Check. It will tell you when it will be and where to go.
You must email “firstname.lastname@example.org” within 10 days to confirm your attendance or if you wish to change the venue.
You must provide evidence to support cancellation of the appointment. The ADI Registrar can consider removing your name from the register if you don’t provide this proof, or fail to attend without telling the DVSA in advance
You won’t have to pay a fee to take your Standards Check.
The New Standards Check
The DVSA want the examiner to assess whether your instruction helps a person to learn in the most effective way. So, during the new Standards Check, the examiner will observe, you giving a normal one hour lesson to a real pupil. Therefore you will no longer have the “role-play” option. You may use an existing learner or a full licence holder, but you cannot use an ADI or someone who has passed Part 2 test of driving ability.
You have to take at least one Standard Check during each 4-year period that you’re registered as an ADI.
Unlike the old Check Test where newly qualified ADI’s would be given an educational if they failed their first attempt, if you fail the Standards Check, you will have only two attempts left.
The Standards Check will last for about 1 hour. There’s 15 minute debrief at the end of the test when you get a grade of your performance.
Preparing for the Standards Check
The great thing about the Standards Check is that you get to select the route, topic and the pupil. Unlike the ADI Part 3…you are in control not the SE.
Select the Route: Pin up a map of the test centre where the Check Test is going to start and mark out – if possible – a scenic route with crossroads, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and plenty of junctions. You not only want to show the SE how good a teacher you are, you also want to give him a pleasant drive.
Test Drive the route and make notes of difficult areas on it such as one-way streets, difficult junctions, double mini roundabouts, so that you are ready for them with your pupil. The route should take a full hour to cover, ½ hour out from the test centre and ½ hour return journey.
Make sure you get plenty of practice over your selected route with your chosen pupil.
Select the Topic: The last thing an SE wants is to be stuck in the back of your car, while you do a turn-in-the-road for one hour or some other manoeuvre. Make life easier and more manageable by choosing topics that are tailored to your selected route and to a test standard pupil. Different from ADI Part 3 you don’t have to stick to one topic, you can have a mix of topics to deal with. For example you can deal with Cross Roads, Pedestrian Crossings, Roundabouts and a quick turn-in-the-road – just before starting the return journey to the test centre –all in one lesson.
Select the Pupil: Although the SE will be assessing your ability to instruct and not your pupils ability to drive, nervous pupils, slow learners and novice learners can make life a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Select a pupil that you feel comfortable teaching, someone who is near test standard, and someone who responds well to the Q/A technique.
Make sure that your pupil is properly briefed about the Standards Check-what it is, who will be conducting it, what the procedure will be and the lesson plan,
Meet the Boss: Present yourself at the test centre early and let the SE know you are there for your Standards Check. When the SE walks out to you, shake his/her hand and walk them to your car. On the way to your vehicle, you should talk the SE through some background information about the pupil using a progress sheet or student logbook and about the lesson you intend to give.
In particular you should let the SE know:
- Whether the person is a regular pupils of yours
- What you know about the pupil’s progress (using a progress report or student logbook)
- What professional instruction the pupil has received
- Whether they are having any private practice
- Any strength or weaknesses of which you are aware
- Your lesson plan
Notes and written material should only be used for reference and should not be read word for word. Remember the SE is only interested in your teaching ability-not your reading ability.
Standards Check Form SC1
The assessment form SC1 has 3 key assessment areas:
– Lesson Planning
– Risk Management
– Teaching and learning strategies
Presenting the Lesson
- Structure the lesson to last an hour but you will have to allow additional 15 minutes for discussion with the SE.
- When you get to your car introduce the pupil to the SE and explain the purpose of the visit.
- Emphasis to the pupil that it’s you who is being checked.
- Encourage the pupil to be relaxed and to ask questions if there is anything that has not been understood.
- Remind the pupil that because of the extra weight in the back, the car may handle slightly differently.
- Begin the lesson with a 5 minute recap of what was covered in the previous driving lesson. Asking about 4 questions should tell you if the pupil has remembered the key points
- Spend 5 minutes setting the lesson plan: also ask the pupil if there is anything they would like see covered in the lesson. This will also let the SE know what the objectives are.
- Conduct the lesson
- Spend 5 minutes debriefing at the end:
– Asking the pupil their impression of the lesson
– Inviting the pupil to ask questions
– Giving feedback on areas of strength and weakness
- Look forward to the next lesson, indicating which topics will be covered suggesting any relevant reading material that needs to be studied.
Management of Risks
Ensure safety on the lesson which includes being proactive with your instruction to prevent potentially dangerous situations developing.
Make sure the terminology used is clear and accurate, and that all directions given are clear and in good time.
At all times, be aware of the surroundings, the pupils actions and other road users’ actions.
Any verbal or physical intervention must be timed correctly and appropriately. Always explain why you intervened, including highlighting the dangers and risks of the pupils actions.
Ensure the pupil understands the dangers and risks of their actions including their responsibilities when driving.
Many instructors are guilty of unintentionally causing faults with poor instructions, bad timing and poor basic planning.
The examiner will look at:
- How you instruct, and how clear, thorough and correct your instruction is
- Your observation of the pupils errors, and whether or not you correct them properly
- Your manner, patience, tact and ability to inspire confidence
Two very common instructional errors arise from not matching the level of instruction to the ability of the pupil. These are: Under-Instruction and Over-Instruction.
Under-Instruction: This often happens when an instructor tries to conduct a mock test letting the pupil drive around and saying nothing until the end. This gives the SE very little information about the method of instruction.
Over-Instruction: Unless the pupil is in the very early stages of instruction, or practising a new skill for the first time, avoid “talking them around”.
Over-instruction often occurs when the pupil is practising new skills, mixed in with consolidating existing skills. For example, you may ask a pupil at test standard to do a turn in the road and give them a complete talk-through when you should be using the Q/A technique.
Don’t ask too many unnecessary questions, the SE may interpret this as over-instruction.
Nit-Picking: Constant “nit-picking” may undermine the confidence of the pupil. Where minor errors occur in isolation that do not affect or control, it may be better not to mention them.
Encouragement: Encouragement should be given when needed, and praise given where credit is due. This is just as important as the correction of errors, as it will develop the pupil’s confidence and inspire further effort.
Manner: You should look professional-don’t forget you never get a second chance to make a first impression- that means shirt, tie and clean shoes for the gents and professional attires for the ladies. Make sure your vehicle is spotless on the outside as well as the inside.
Use Client Centred (CCL) Teaching/Learning Strategies: Use a very simple “cause & effect” based training programme. CCL isn’t just about Q/A, it’s about helping your pupil fully understand the effects of their actions resurfacing in the future.
Some dos and don’ts
- Prepare in advance – your car, the route, the topic, the pupil
- Involve the SE in the lesson and ask him if he/she is OK now and then.
- Brief both the pupil and the SE
- Use a two-way Question and Answer technique
- Ensure learning takes place during the lesson
- Identify, analyse and correct any fault
- Use encouragement when needed and praise when deserved
- Sum up at the end of the lesson and look forward to the next one
- Choose a nervous, slow learners or unreliable pupil
- Use retrospective correction instruction.
- Spend a full hour doing a manoeuvre i.e. turn in the road etc
- Put the SE in the back of the car like a sack of potatoes and ignore him/her for the duration of the Standards Check.
- Try to carry out a mock test.
At the end of the Standards Check the SE will have assessed your instruction and will give you grade A or B. F is a fail.
- 0: Complete lack of competence
- 1: few competencies demonstrated satisfactorily
- 2: Most competencies satisfactory
- 3: All competencies satisfactory
The following shortfalls will result in automatic fail:
– Obtaining a score of under 8 in the section ‘risk management’
– Failing to manage incidents involving critical safety issues effectively resulting in the examiner stopping the lesson
– Failing to identify weaknesses or inform the pupil of a critical safety issues
A total of 51 points is attainable. The pass mark is 31, with a minimum score of 8 in the ” risk management” section.
The grade boundaries are as follows:
– Grade A: 43-51 (You have shown a high standard or instruction)
– Grade B: 31-42 (There is room for improvement and you’ll stay on the register)
– Fail: 0-30
If you fail the Standards Check, you’ll have 2 more attempts to pass. If you fail 3 times:
– You’ll be removed from the ADI register
– You’ll have to retake the ADI tests to join the ADI register again
Preparation for the Standards Check is most important if you wish to get the best possible grading. If you are in doubt over any instructional points you should consider taking some training to update your teaching skills. It might be worthwhile to do this anyway, rather than leave it too late and be told that your methods are outdated, and your SE gives you an F.