What happens?

The Standards Check was introduced in April 2014 and in December 2017 the qualifying test was also converted to the same format.

It is one of the conditions of qualifying for and subsequently remaining on the ADI register that every qualified ADI has to undergo a periodic assessment of their instructional ability. This assessment is called the Standards Check, it is the same test as the qualification process.

The aim of the Part Three exam/Standards Check is to assess how well you meet the standards as set out in the DVSA publication ‘National Standard for Driver and Rider Training’.

The Standards Check is conducted by an examiner from the specialist ADI enforcement team who will observe you delivering a normal lesson. The examiner is assessing your ability to instruct and whether your instruction helps a person to learn and improve in an effective way.

You must take at least 1 Standards Check in each 4-year period that you are registered as an ADI.

You must take the Standards Check even if you:

  • don’t have your own car
  • are not currently working as an ADI

You can be taken off the ADI register if you repeatedly don’t attend your Standards Check.

You are responsible for the lesson and can take a pupil of any level of ability – the only exceptions being anyone who is currently on the ADI register or who has passed the ADI Part 2 test.

During Covid-19 times the lesson should last for 45 minutes with the wheels turning for approx. 40 of those minutes (Including introduction and end of lesson feedback) and 15 minutes should be allowed at the end of the lesson for a debrief for you with the examiner. The examiner will normally give you a time they wish you to be back to the test centre, if you wish to de-brief the pupil allow time for this. They ask that we keep stopping to a minimum, but this does not mean you cannot stop if you need to. You will have already set session goals and agreed a plan of action before the examiner joins you. all you will need to do is update examiner on where you are in this plan, there is no need to do a lengthy intro.

Invitation for Standards Check

You will usually be invited to book a Standards Check at your local driving test centre. It will be expected that you will book this in a timely manner and that there will be no undue delays. If you are unable to attend the DVSA will expect proof of this. You will receive a communication from the DVSA confirming the time and place for the Standards Check, which will also explain the procedure on the day. If it is your Part Three exam you will choose the date and time.

There were changes brought in to limit the length of time of the exam during the Pandemic. This shortened the duration of the exam and meant the examiner would be ringing you in advance to discuss things with you. This means you are able to paint a much fuller picture of what the examiner can expect on the day. It also means you can give details about the way you normally work with this pupil. The advice from DVSA is that you should only stop when necessary, to reduce the Covid risk. This does not mean you cannot stop! If you are unsure about any aspect of this, then take the time to ask the examiner in advance of the test during the phone call.

Examiners have expressed a desire to keep this phone call in advance of the test as it gives them a better idea of what to expect on the day. At the time of publishing this document it is unclear as to how this will be going forward.

In 2021 the DVSA introduced changes as to when you might be called for standards check. Although this has caused an uproar among ADIs it really isn’t so different to what has gone before. The DVSA have always had a system in place that allowed them to call in ADIs for standards check if it was felt that their performance was substantially under par or they were presenting candidates for test that were a danger to themselves, the examiner or other road users. The change announced is a formalisation of this process. There is nothing to fear for the average or above average ADI, this is targeted at the below average ADI and as you can see from the example report, you must be consistently underperforming to be called for standards check. This is, I believe, because of the low standard of candidate presented by a significant minority within the industry

You will normally get one standard check in every badge cycle (4 years) but, you may get one sooner, if, in a rolling 12-month period (12 months back from today) you trigger the criteria.

Trigger criteria:

  • average number of driving faults per test (5 or more)
  • average number of serious faults per test (0.5 or more)
  • percentage of tests where the driving examiner had to take physical action in the interests of public safety (10% or higher)
  • overall pass rate over the rolling 12 months (55% or lower)

In this example a Standards check would NOT be triggered because only 1 of the 4 triggers (driving examiners taking physical action) has been met

You took your pupils for 30 tests throughout the last 12 months

Across all 30 tests, your pupils made a combined total of 130 driving faults. This is an average of 4.83 per test (130 ÷ 30)

Across all 30 tests, your pupils made a combined total of 14 serious driving faults. This is an average of 0.47 per test (14 ÷ 30)

Across all 30 tests, driving examiners had to take physical action in 5 tests. This is 16.67% of tests (5 ÷ 30, multiplied by 100)

In total, 18 of the 30 tests were passes and 12 were fails. This is a pass rate of 60% (18 ÷ 30, multiplied by 100)

You will not need to take a standards check

In this example a standards check WOULD be triggered because all 4 of the triggers have been met.

You took your pupils for 20 tests throughout the last 12 months.

Across all 20 tests, your pupils made a combined total of 120 driving faults. This is an average of 6 per test (120 ÷ 20).

Across all 20 tests, your pupils made a combined total of 12 serious driving faults. This is an average of 0.6 per test (12 ÷ 20).

Across all 20 tests, driving examiners had to take physical action in 4 tests. This is 20% of tests (4 ÷ 20, multiplied by 100).

In total, 8 of the 20 tests were passes and 12 were fails. This is a pass rate of 40% (8 ÷ 20, multiplied by 100).

The indicators will only be used if you bring 5 or more pupils for driving tests in a 12-month period.

If you bring fewer than 5 pupils, or you do not teach learners, you will still have to attend a  standards check once during each 4-year period you’re registered as an ADI.

The DVSA will contact you (normally via email) to tell you when you have to book yours.

If called for a standards check the examiner will call you to arrange a date and time for a 30-minute phone call.

This appointment is voluntary and will take place about 8 weeks before your standards check.

If you refuse the offer of a phone appointment

You will not be sent your ADI driver test analysis report if you refuse the appointment.

You will still need to take your standards check, but DVSA will not contact you again to offer support.

During the phone appointment

During the 30-minute call, the examiner will talk to you about:

  • your ADI driver test analysis report
    • where you can get further support and guidance (they will advise approaching an ORDIT registered training establishment or trainer)
    • what will happen when you take your standards check

They cannot give you any technical training during the call.

The examiner will email a summary of the discussion to you. This will include links to guidance or information you should read before your standards check.

Getting a copy of your ADI driver test analysis report if you’ve not been asked to book a standards check

If you have not been asked to book a standards check, you can still request a copy of your report.

It can take several weeks to get your report. This is because DVSA prioritises sending reports to ADIs who have been asked to book a standards check.

Email DVSA to request your report. You need to include your:

  • ADI personal reference number (PRN)
  • date of birth
  • postcode

ADI driver test analysis reports adi.enforcement.analysis.request@dvsa.gov.uk

Sample report



I would strongly suggest that you monitor your own performance so that you are never surprised by an invite to standards check, you will always know for sure how you are performing. I advise booking learners tests for them, using your email, then reports after test (and notices of cancellations) come to you. This way you can track your performance using a form like the one below.

Pupil performance on test monitor


Vehicle to be used for Standards Check

Vehicles used for a Standards Check must meet minimum test requirements and be roadworthy and safe. Soft-top convertibles and ‘2+2’ vehicles are not suitable.

If you are teaching a learner ‘L’ plates must be displayed. Rear seat belts must be in working order and rear head restraints must be fitted.

At the test centre

When you arrive at the test centre you and your pupil will go inside to meet the examiner. The examiner will introduce themselves to you both and will then take you outside or to a side room to have a chat, leaving the pupil in the waiting room. The examiner should explain this to your pupil. The examiner will need to see your ADI badge, although it needn’t be displayed in the car if you are not charging your pupil for the lesson.

Once the examiner has confirmed your identity and completed the necessary paperwork they will ask you some questions about your pupil. Amongst other things they will want to know how many hours of tuition the pupil has had, whether they get any extra practice with a friend or relative, the pupil’s strengths and areas for development. The examiner will want to see the pupil’s driver record and perhaps any CPD or development work you have undertaken, if it is your qualification exam then the examiner will want to also see your developmental log (LDC Student Part Three Practical skills Logbook for Students). The examiner will want to note your trainers Personal Reference Number (PRN) which should be on the front cover of your logbook.

If you have a trainer or mentor they can accompany you on the Standards Check but they cannot take part in any way or the test will be terminated. They must also sit still and not be fidgeting around as this could be deemed prompting, the same rules as sitting in on other tests.

As part of the DVSA’s ongoing quality assurance the examiner could also be accompanied by a supervising examiner. Should it transpire that the examiner will be supervised and you would still like your trainer to accompany you then the supervising examiner will decide whether or not the supervision goes ahead.

At the beginning of the Standards Check

The examiner will walk around the car and make a note of registration mark etc. The examiner will then get in the car, probably let the pupil know they are watching the trainer and not them, and will then notify you of the time they wish to be back at the test centre. If you are planning a debrief at the end, Check with the examiner if that time includes debrief or is it ok to debrief after that time. Remind the pupil that the examiner is watching you and not them, then you may start.

Using the reflection from last week, you and your learner should put together a meaningful goal or goals and a lesson plan to take care of it. Discuss potential routes and/or exercises, remind them there is extra weight in the car, and agree a strategy to deal with it. Discuss who is responsible for what and what level of help may be required for the drive to the training area and then execute that. If you are driving to the training area be sure the drive is not too long (max 5 minutes) and use the time effectively to demonstrate/question on the subject you are about to teach. It is not enough to simply say “watch me while I drive!”

If the pupil is to drive to the training area, what level of help support/guidance will they need?

Is there anything they have not dealt with before on the route, or something that requires extra help from you?

Agree a strategy to deal with these things and then get moving.

Assessment of your performance

During the Standards Check your task is to provide an effective learning experience for your pupil. An effective learning experience is judged to be one in which your pupil is supported to take as much responsibility as possible for their learning process within safe limits.

You may, where it is correct and safe to do so, feel free to introduce wider issues from the driving standard into the lesson, such as assessing personal fitness to drive, the use of alcohol or drugs or dealing with aggression. If, for example, your pupil offers an inappropriate comment about the use of alcohol it would be appropriate for you to challenge this. Similarly, it would be appropriate for you to encourage your pupil to think through what might happen, in particular situations, if the conditions were different.

For example, after negotiating a particularly difficult junction it might be helpful to discuss how different it would be at night or in bad weather, or what the effects of dehydration or low blood sugars might be. The important thing to remember here is that the most effective learning takes place when your pupil finds the answers for themselves. However, if there are safety critical incidents to deal with, then you must make these the main thrust of your conversations, it is no good having a well hydrated, rested and fed pupil if they are running people over!

The examiner will look for evidence that you have:

  • identified the goals of your pupil
  • identified the learning needs of your pupil
  • agreed a strategy to deal with the learning needs of your pupil
  • put together a meaningful and sensible strategy to deliver the identified goals and taking care of needs
  • helped the learner to adjust their ideas/plans where risk may be compromised or where there isn’t enough time to complete (The R of the GROW coaching model)
  • executed the plan
  • helped the learner reflect and review the activities and establish new activities where necessary and create a new plan
  • at the end of the session help the learner to identify what has been learned

So we should help the learner to:

  • put together a plan
  • Execute the plan (8-10 minutes)
  • Pull over for review and ask:
  • Is the plan working?
  • If the answer is yes, then consider a bigger challenge or less help (or both)
  • If the answer is no consider a lesser challenge or more help (or both)
  • Either way a new plan is required – so help your learner to put together this new plan

Whilst stopped also consider the following:

Did anything else occur that we need to discuss?

If the answer is yes, do we need to add this into the plan, or even replace existing plans as it is safety critical?

Finally consider if what you are doing is working (are you seeing it, saying it, sussing it and sorting it)?

A new plan will now be in place to take account of the above and off you go again with the new plan, executing it for 8-10 minutes and then doing the same reflect and review process.

You could conduct the review on the move if the pupil is able to do this, you might ask which they would prefer (my preferred option would be to stop as it allows clear blue thinking time for both of you)

The examiner will use a Standards Check or Part Three reporting form (SC1) or ADI Part Three (SC) to mark your performance during the lesson.

The assessment is made against 3 broad areas of competence regarded as higher level competencies:

·        lesson planning (4 competencies)

·        risk management (5 competencies)

·        teaching and learning strategies (8 competencies)

These 3 areas are broken down further into 17 lower level competencies and a mark is given for each. Marks will be given as follows:

0 = no evidence of competence

1 = a few elements of competence demonstrated

2 = competence demonstrated in most elements

3 = competence demonstrated in all elements

Another way to look at this is from a developmental point of view.

If the examiner gives the trainer a score of 3 – the examiner is effectively saying that this is an area where the trainer does not need to do any further work, apart from continuously reflecting on their performance.

If they give a score of 2 – they are saying that the trainer’s performance is just acceptable but there are clear areas where they could improve and if this was to be repeated across a wide range of competencies would not give sufficient evidence of competence overall.

If they give a score of 1 – they are saying the trainer’s performance is not acceptable and the trainer needs to do a lot more work, even though they give evidence of knowing what they are supposed to be doing.

If they give a score of 0 – they are saying the trainer’s performance is way below the standard required and there is no evidence of knowing what they are supposed to be doing.

At the end of the test the examiner will return to the test centre office to consider what they have observed during the test and write up the detailed notes they need to keep on file in case questioned about any aspect of the test later.

You will return to the waiting room with your pupil and wait for the examiner, or they may ask you to wait in the car till they return (some test centres have very small waiting rooms and there may be other tests going out) feel free to seek clarification of what is expected of you. Once the examiner returns you and they will either go to the car, or a side room and they will give you the result.

The marks will be totalled to give an overall mark. You must score at least 31 to pass; the maximum mark is 51. Whatever your overall scores you will automatically fail a Standards Check if you score 7 or less for Risk Management or if the examiner stops the lesson because you have put yourself or someone else in danger.

The examiner will reflect on your performance. They are asked to mark holistically and so will take the time to reflect properly and consider the mark they will give. You will be given a grade depending on your overall score. You will also be given feedback on your performance by the examiner and advised to seek help from an ORDIT registered trainer if it is your qualifying exam.

If it is a standards check they will give you guidance on where they feel you can develop.

The purpose of feedback is to help you understand where you failed to demonstrate full competence and where you need to focus your efforts when undertaking further development. This can seem negative as they are only explaining where marks were lost, they are not explaining why you got full marks, but more how you can improve your score next time.

The new standards Check form will enable the examiner to show you the ‘profile’ of your performance, against the individual competences, very clearly. This should help you to see where you have given a strong performance as well as where you might need development.

It is NOT a tick test and it is very rarely based on whether they like you or not (despite what you may read on forums) Examiners do understand what is required and are given extensive training as well as being observed on a very regular basis. The DVSA take quality assurance very seriously.

Stories about tick tests, and examiners not liking people are not started by people who have passed. As an industry we have not taken the time and trouble to understand what the test is all about, so is it any wonder a lot of ADI’s are failing?

Listen very carefully to the feedback you are given, and seek clarification of anything you are unsure of. It might even be worthwhile taking some notes so that you remember correctly. Do not argue your case, but simply listen for what you might learn from the exchange.

NB The ADI registrar will start removing you from the register if you don’t reach an acceptable standard in 3 consecutive Checks. If it is a standards Check, then your final attempt will be with a more senior examiner.

You may appeal to a Magistrate’s Court (the Sheriff’s Office in Scotland) if you think that your standards Check wasn’t conducted properly. However, you cannot appeal against the examiner’s decision as it is final.

Lessons in this course: