29 Mar Part 3 PST Versus Standards Check Assessment
At the last MSA National Conference in March this year, DVSA registrar Mark Magee, hinted at the idea of substituting the current PST based Part 3 entrance exam with a Standards Check style driving lesson assessment instead.
To be honest, this idea has been around for a very long time now, even preceding the Standards Check, with the idea of a traditionally assessed (Check Test) type driving lesson with a real customer as the assessment instead of a role playing examiner assessing the performance based on one of the ten PSTs.
So what are the ‘pros and cons’ of this idea? Both ideas have merits, and considering that now there is a discrepancy in the assessment criteria of Part 3 performance against Standards Check performance, it seems clear that they should come into line, shouldn’t they?
Looking at the current situation, the Part 3 assessment using the PSTs is producing very poor results. Approximately 30% of Part 3 test candidates pass through this exam and that’s after the third and final attempt. Furthermore, let’s look at the old style Check Test grading system, (1,2 or 3 being a fail and 4, 5 or 6 registering a pass) that assessed fail or success performance in an identical way to the Part 3, i.e. using Core Competences as the primary assessment criteria.
With the old Check Test system, only 4-5% of assessments merited a top grade 6 whereby in comparison with the Standards Check, somewhere between 25-30% are merited an ‘A’, the top grade. So the Standards Check CCL assessment criteria seem to be producing a more benevolent assessment outcome than the old system, doesn’t it?
Perhaps the Standards Check will actually be much more beneficial should it be introduced then.
So let’s now look at something that is fundamental to driving assessment and driving instructor assessment in this country. Credibility and perhaps more importantly, integrity.
With the current assessment using the PST Part 3, it’s the examiner that decides on the subject by producing a PST form for the test candidate. Although there are only 10 of these forms, the fact is that the test candidate doesn’t know which one they’re going to get so they at least have to train for 12 different exercises with the varying scenarios that could be construed around them.
What if I trained all my trainees to teach just one subject, for example a Turn in the Road? They could present for the exam with a learner that’s partly trained but had never been taught that particular exercise.
If the test candidate had practised only that exercise, they could be quite proficient at it plus, knowing the area and obviously little issues that could happen on the drive to the training site, would also very probably be able to deal with these issues, which would include the use of a Client Centred style. Certainly good enough to pass an exam.
The examiner would not be able to say or do anything except assess the performance of that test candidate on that day with that pupil on that occasion teaching that subject. Provided it was relevant and helped the pupil achieve their learning outcomes, job done.
However, the test candidate is certainly not an instructor because all they know is that area, that subject and those particular issues and nothing else. The success rate would be phenomenal, just concentrating on one subject in one location with the real issues only being the vagaries of the learner. As we all know, you pick the learner that you want to take and you pick the date so there’s a great deal of control over this as well.
Because of the higher pass rates, DVSA would be patting themselves on the back because as far as they’re concerned, they had introduced a more positive entry level assessment which would then assure that the standards of driving tuition in this country would drop and of course, would be watered down in every way because more instructors inevitably reduces prices.
What opinion do you have on this?