New research reveals driving instructor standards gamble
10/02/2020 - AMT
-The greatest gamble learner drivers face may be in choosing their instructor.
– Test centres’ pass rates to qualify as an instructor vary from 6% to 71%.
– New analysis calls into question consistency of centres’ standards.
The huge differences between pass rates for would-be driving instructors training at different test centres hints at a gulf between examination standards, new analysis shows.
Car specialist AMT has used official statistics from the Department for Transport, which lists instructor applicants’ pass rates for every UK test centre over the past ten years.
The Approved Driving Instructor Part 3 Test assesses the instructional abilities of a person who wants to become an instructor, and is crucially the final examination before they’re able to work as one. It can only be taken once all other tests have been passed.
AMT took the Part 3 Test pass rates for every year of the past decade for each of the country’s 219 DVSA test centres. It then calculated an average for the 10-year period, which revealed how consistent the divisions in standards are.
On average over the past decade, just 6% of applicants who took the instructional test at the Ashford test centre in London passed, making it the toughest test centre for instructors in the UK.
The easiest centre from which to become an instructor is Tunbridge Wells, with a 71% pass rate. The national average pass rate across all centres was 37%.
10 hardest centres to pass instructor test (pass rate 10-year average):
1. Ashford (London): 6%
2. Sidcup (London): 16%
3. Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham): 17%
4. Kingstanding (Birmingham): 18%
5. Paisley: 18%
6. Hendon (London): 19%
7. Dunfermline: 20%
8. Dundee: 20%
9. Aberdeen South: 20%
10. King’s Heath (Birmingham): 21%
10 easiest centres to pass instructor test (pass rate 10-year average):
1. Tunbridge Wells: 71%
2. York: 69%
3. Bangor: 67%
4. Gosforth: 67%
5. Livingston: 67%
6. Pembroke Dock: 67%
7. Brislington (Bristol): 63%
8. St Albans: 63%
9. Chelmsford: 61%
10. Letchworth: 60%
Reacting to the findings, AMT’s general manager Ian Wright said: “The fact that instructor pass rates at individual test centres vary by such huge margins will be shocking to many, as it suggests that the standards against which applicants are judged also differ.
“Normally, you would expect test centres’ results to vary around a common figure and for them to even out over time. The fact that these statistics are an average over the past ten years, yet are still so extreme, shows that the differences between centres are more permanent.
“There also appears to be no geographic trend. So are driving instructors in one location more capable than those in another? It’s something that, if I were learning to drive again, knowing this, I’d want to look into it.”
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