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New ADI Part 3 – on the way

pay-100337_1920It seems not everyone is in favour of the new ideas about the ADI Part 3 examination which have come after talks with the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) Industry, National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) and organisations on DVSA’s Official Register of Driving Instructor Trainers (ORDIT).

DVSA’s Registrar Mark Magee said:

“The industry has confirmed to us that the current fault-based ADI Part 3 test, which relies on pre-set tests and role play exercises, is both unrealistic and restrictive. It doesn’t give trainee instructors enough opportunity to demonstrate the full range of skills needed when qualified.

“The changes will now mean new ADIs will be better prepared to deliver effective training from day one of qualifying and won’t need to learn different teaching methods ahead of their standards check.  It will also enable the test to be delivered at a greater number of test centres and local to where training has taken place. 

“However, it is also important to reassure individuals that consideration will be given to PDIs currently part way through the qualifying process. Also, DVSA ADI examiners will receive training to deliver the new ADI Part 3, and DVSA ORDIT inspectors will  be updated on the inspection requirements.”

MSA GB Chairman Peter Harvey MBE, who has been closely involved with the DVSA on delivering these changes said:

“I feel a real pupil is the correct way forward, the current PSTs do not show a breadth of knowledge just an ability to learn a number of set routines, neither does it test ability to teach roundabouts or gear changing or high speed driving or use of car parks etc.

“Role play is an outmoded form of examination, for the profession to improve, we need to be teaching the real thing to allow modern PDIs to better understand what dealing with real people is all about.”

In my view a competency based Part 3 makes sense I think it is what this industry needs. Many years ago there was a deputy chief driving examiner who used to upset ADIs when they asked him how to teach various things in order that their pupils would pass the test. He had a stock answer “teach them to do what you would do in the same circumstance”.

His view was that, generally speaking, the theory test checked you had a (theoretical) grasp of the subject. The part 1 checked your eyesight was good enough to see what was going on and the Part 2 checked that you knew how to drive properly. The idea of the Part 3 was to make sure you could teach others to do what you could do. That the PSTs were let out of the bag in the early 1980s simply meant that trainers tried to teach people to pass them rather than teaching/coaching/training them to teach/coach/train properly.

It would seem to me that a person who is a really good teacher/coach/trainer should be a good driver teacher/coach/trainer if they can pass the theory test, the eyesight test and the driving test. I appreciate that they may need a bit of specialist advice to ensure their teaching/coaching/training skills are compatible with driver teaching/coaching/training but with that bit of help they should be off and running.

tricoaching_logo1_72Susan McCormack from the Tri-coaching Partnership puts her latest thinking on the subject as follows

‘Points in favour of the Standards Check replacing the Part 3.

Let’s look at three points:

1 Training versus testing
2 Skills versus subject
3 Individual responsibility and client-centred learning

1 Training versus testing
The DVSA is responsible for setting and maintaining the standards in all categories of drivers and driver trainers. It has no responsibility for the training. Anyone, who applies to become a driving instructor and takes the three-part qualifying exam, can do so without ever once undertaking professional training. In the same way, anyone can sit the ‘L’ theory and practical tests without ever having training with an ADI.

The three-part qualifying examination to be an ADI is a summative assessment of the knowledge, skills and understanding the potential driving instructor (PDI) has of the National Driver and Rider Training Standard. These are the standards that are set by the DVSA, against which PDIs are tested.

Therefore, it follows, that the training (whether the PDI takes this formally or trains alone) must be around developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of the National Driver and Rider Training Standard.

2 Skills versus subject
Let’s focus on the training – not the testing – for a moment. The training currently unashamedly prepares the individual to pass the Part 3 test. The training usually consists of forty hours that focus on the ten pre-set test combinations (PSTs) of the Part 3 rather than a syllabus of training that matches the National Standard. There is no context.

If you are against the Standards Check replacing the Part 3 then you might be overly concerned about individuals learning the ‘content of subjects’, rather than recognising that the most important thing is the ‘skills that need applying’ to any situation – the ‘skills’ that are robustly assessed with the seventeen competences that make up the Standards Check. The subject is irrelevant. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable for the candidate to prepare the subject they are most familiar with on a route they feel comfortable with – because they still must demonstrate ability in seventeen competences.

3 Individual responsibility and client-centred learning
Coaching and client-centred learning (CCL) is all about raising self-awareness and building self-responsibility. The trainee driving instructor must take ownership of their own learning and work out their individual development needs in becoming a driving instructor. If they do this successfully then they are more likely to recognise the importance of CCL when it comes to teaching people to drive. Raising awareness and building responsibility in newly qualified drivers will help keep them safe on the road – the starting point lies in the self-development of the PDI.

It is about looking at the bigger picture and keeping the context in mind.’

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