The standards check is a test that driving instructors have to take every two to four years. It involves a driving instructor giving a driving lesson while an examiner watches from the back of the car. The examiner assesses the instructors performance and gives a grade of A, B or F at the end.
You can watch all my standards check videos by clicking here. These include a full one hour guide to the standards check marking sheet and a 3 hour guide to ADI1 – the DVSA standards check examiners guide.
What’s the difference between a standards check and a check test?
Many instructors think that the standards check is nothing to worry about because it’s just the same as the old check test. If you turn up and do what you normally do you’ll be fine because nothing has changed. Wrong.
The check test was the old version of what is now called the standards check. It was different in that you were marked from 1 to 6 in 14 areas such as your use of dual controls, approach to pupil and level of instruction. You only had to score 4 or more in 3 of those areas to keep your job.
So long as you spotted faults, took the correct action and fixed them then you’d pass. If you were rude, nearly caused crashes and did a terrible route you’d still pass. Yes – really!
There would be no point in the standards check existing If it was the same as a check test. It’s a totally different approach to assessing a driving instructors ability which works much better. Once you learn what the differences are you’ll see why it’s a much better system which drags the old fashioned style of driving instruction into the 21st century.
The key differences include:
- No role-play because you must take along a real pupil
- Your teaching must be client based and focused around the pupils needs
- Just fixing faults is not enough, you must show a wider range of skills
- Different marking criteria. You’re now marked from 0 to 3 in 17 areas
- Risk management. You will fail if your lesson isn’t safe and puts anyone at risk
- Role and responsibility discussions are vital
- Your performance is assessed for discrimination
- Grades A, B and F replace grades 1 to 6
Why role-play is no longer allowed
The huge problem with the old check test was that there was a way you could cheat to get a high grade. This was a little known method that more and more instructors started doing as word got around about it online.
It was no secret that you could ask the examiner to role-play as a pupil instead of taking a real pupil along. The trick that not many instructors knew was that the examiner was then only allowed to make faults on your chosen subject and nothing else. If you chose to teach pedestrian crossings then you knew they were going to be waving people over, approaching too fast etc.
This was, of course, farcical. Instructors were getting grade 6’s for doing the same old lesson over and over again. Each time a check test came round you could just dust off the same old route and lesson briefing and get the same result.
Instructors (like me) that took real pupils along would get a grade 4 or 5 because a real pupil is much harder to handle. Unlike an examiner, a real pupil would not only make faults on your chosen topic, they’ll be making mistakes all over the place! You could have to totally change the route, lesson plan and everything.
Now you understand why the role-play was scrapped and many of those grade 6 instructors are no longer working as instructors.
Why experienced ADI’S struggle to pass
Many grade 5 and 6 driving instructors with years of experience are now getting a grade B on the standards check. This is because just telling people what to do with the various levels of instruction is not enough anymore. You don’t need to worry or change your whole style of teaching but there are differences that you must know about or you wouldn’t have a chance of getting a good result on a standards check.
On a standards check you need to use skills including client based learning, psychological techniques and many other methods. These methods make learning far more effective and enjoyable for both yourself and the pupil. If you turn up and use the old rigid style of instruction and fault fixing then you could have an unpleasant surprise when you are given your grade.
The standards check is nothing to be afraid of but it is different to a check test. In my standards check video section I’ll be talking you through everything you need to know to not only pass your standards check but to make the job more enjoyable and raise your teaching skills to the level now needed to succeed and achieve a grade A.