Has the standard of driving gone down?
The world of education is all about standards. There is an almost constant call to ‘drive them up’ and to make tests tougher. Can tests actually lower standards though? An interesting question. If you read my article on Mindful Learning then you will have guessed the answer. Yes they can and I think I can give you an example, read on.
Would you agree that the standard of driving has fallen? Do drivers do little more than ‘follow’ these days? Has things like overtaking on single carriageways become a thing of the past? Do you find drivers driving up to clear roundabouts, actually stopping (not slowing), looking and then driving on?
Well if you have noticed these things then there may be a reason. I suggest that reason is the theory test. We know all about tests, especially multiple choice ones. There are the right answers and then there are the wrong answers. There is no middle ground, no thinking man’s answer. Tests can be ‘mindless’, to pass you learn the right answers and thinking is not involved. In fact thinking is a hindrance and lowers your chance of passing the test. Let me give you an example from the driving theory test.
You are waiting at a T-junction. A vehicle is coming from the right with the left signal flashing. What should you do?
a) Move out and accelerate hard
b) Wait until the vehicle starts to turn in
c) Pull out before the vehicle reaches the junction
d) Move out slowly
Before you decide think about what you actually do.
Okay, chosen your answer? If you approached this in a mindless fashion and learnt the right answer there is no problem, straight onto the next questions. If you start to think though it is not as clear. There are judgements to be made. For example:
How far away is the vehicle?
How fast is it going?
What are the road and weather conditions like?
How wide is the road?
How busy is the road?
Have you established eye contact with the driver?
I know it is about safety and people forget about their indicators but good driving is also about being able to observe, to apply prior learning and learning to make decisions based on evidence.
I’ll put you out of your misery – the correct answer is b) Wait until the vehicle starts to turn in. Is that what you do?
No wonder we drive up behind people who have stopped at a junction or roundabout without a car in sight.
I would argue tests can lower standards and need as much care in planning as the teaching.