Tuesday, 30 January 2007

DSA quotas!

They don't frickin exist people!

I'm kinda gettin tired of sayin this, but they really don't. So stop asking!

This is the old wives tale that if your test is at the end of the day/week/month/year/financial year, then you won't pass - because the examiner will have passed his 'quota' already. (And showing what stupid thinking this is - by the same logic if they haven't passed enough people then you'd be almost bound to pass!)

They don't exist - they never have. What does exist, always has and probably always will is VARIANCES.

If you are good enough, you pass your test, but how do we know that what one examiner thinks is good enough is the same as another examiner? (I say potato, you say potahhto...) Well this is where variances are necessary - if one old git at Smotheringhouseton test centre whose divorce is going badly decides that no-one is going to pass, then he will soon find his results flagged up on the DSA computer. The other 6 examiners tend to hover around 39% at Smotheringhouseton test centre, but 'the major' has a pass rate nearer 12% - why? What happens next is that 'the major' gets a visit from their 'supervising examiner', who sits in on the back of a load of tests with him to find out why his pass rate is so low. This supervising examiner finds that this examiner has decided to fail everyone who drives at 2 mph below the 60 limit on the ring road ('because it annoys the hell out of me when I'm on my way home'). 'The major', now has to undergo some retrospective training, to ensure that his marking is in line with everyone else.

After a few weeks, 'the major's' divorce comes thru, he is relaxing into single life, he now knows that 2mph under the limit is not a fail, but could be seen as a driver fault, and is becoming all smiles again at the test centre. No longer do the local 6th Form college students dread getting him on their test, no longer do instructors roleplay the old sod on mock tests, and all of this happiness is due to variances! Hurrah.

So no, quotas don't exist, and for some of the instructors who worry about variances in the same way - stop worrying - they'll keep you safe from examiners who don't like your face. In the mean time, instead of complaining about the examiners, look to your training instead.

For all the instructor's out there - have a look at the SDEs guidelines:

It cannot be too strongly emphasised that the passing of a constant, or nearly constant, percentage of candidates by an examiner, is not evidence that he has required the same standard of competence to be shown by all; nor can the fact that a number of examiners have shown a common percentage of passes be taken as evidence that their assessment is uniform. It is true that when an examiner has conducted over 400 tests (for category ‘B’ tests only) it would be reasonable to expect little difference between the percentages of passes within a centre, but this does not mean that a similar percentage should be looked for in the daily, weekly or monthly results of tests conducted by individual examiners. However, it is the responsibility of the SDE to ensure that any unusual trends are reported to the SM and investigates the route cause of any variance.

If you want to look at the whole sleep inducing document:



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