Monday, 21 May 2007

Will all check tests soon be roleplay?

Going purely on rumour again guys - you know me, never let a lack of facts get in the way of a good story - but there's suggestions that the check test is moving towards a purely roleplay format.

Now I'm normally here defending the DSA, but on this one I won't be.

There are various reasons why the roleplay could be useful to both ourselves and the DSA. It introduces a set format with a simply examined structure, allowing for much more standardised gradings for instructors. It also reduces the problems with instructors "prepping" their check test pup.

However, many of the examiners have never been driving instructors, and at best their experience of how learners react is limited to their experience on tests. This means that the mistakes they make during check tests are often un-realistic and do not follow the pattern that we see on a day to day basis.

It also takes no account of the work we do with individual pups, with regards to problems and weaknesses outside the knowledge & skills area. Some attitude is tested, but in comparison to the amount of work some of us do with nervous or disabled customers it is woefully inadequate in assessing this, and often actually causes good specialist instructors to be graded lower than they deserve. The examiners often misunderstand how we work to teach people in the way that they learn, rather than in the way the DSA would rather we teach.

Unlike some instructors I feel that a great instructor would not fail a roleplay checktest, and a good one should at least be able to achieve a grade 4 - so no-one's livelihood is at risk. The problem occurs when we look to each other for help - we understand the gradings, and will often take them as read. Unfortunately this means that some of the finest specialist trainers are penalised within the industry because the DSA do not understand the complexities of their chosen speciality.

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