The DVSA Share their research why ADI’s fail their Standards check

Standards Check

The DVSA has published the Top 5 reasons why ADI’s have failed their standards check

Jacqui Turland has taken over from Mark Magee as the ADI registrar. Jacqui shares some useful information with ADI’s about preparation for the standards check.

She said she wanted to give instructors a valuable insight into why they might fail their standards check, and what they can do to better prepare for it.

Let’s be clear I’m totally in agreement with improving the standard of lessons, but that starts from the ground upwards, and begins before the first lesson has even started.

ADI’s provide a service to people who want to learn to drive. That service includes being honest, punctual, organised, managed, likeable and friendly. Then we can talk about the help they give students in preparation for the test and beyond.

Working to the national standard.

The DVSA are looking for evidence that instructors can meet the National Standards for Driver and Rider training.

Instructors are marked on 17 areas of competence that are grouped into 3 categories:

  • Lesson planning
  • Risk management
  • Teaching and learning skills.

So what are the top 5 reasons that ADI’s fail their standards check as analysed by the DVSA?

Please note: these results are from data gained back in 2014 and may not reflect why ADI’s fail today in 2017. The source of this information is from the post by the DVSA on 21st August 2017 please see the link at the bottom of the page…

In no particular order the top 5 reasons for failing the standards check are:


  1. Instructors haven’t adapted the  lesson plan, when appropriate, to help the pupil work towards their learning goals
  2. Instructors haven’t taught the lesson in a style suited to the pupil’s learning style and current ability
  3. Instructors haven’t encouraged the pupil to analyse problems and take responsibility for their learning
  4. Instructors haven’t given the pupil appropriate and timely feedback during the session
  5. Instructors haven’t given enough feedback to help the pupil understand any potentially safety-critical incidents

Lesson planning

You need to show you can adapt your lesson plan, where appropriate, to help your pupil work towards their learning goals.

You shouldn’t stick to a planned lesson because the needs of your pupil might change throughout the lesson and it’s important you can adapt to that.

Teaching and learning strategies

You need to be able to show you can teach your pupil in a style that’s suited for them. This means using methods that work best for them. For example, when giving verbal directions, your pupil might find it easier if you referred to left and right as ‘my side’ or ‘your side’.

It’s important you give your pupil appropriate and timely feedback rather than giving it all at the end of the lesson. Having regular discussions throughout the lesson helps your pupil understand what they might have done wrong.

You should encourage your pupil to analyse problems and take responsibility for their own learning. For example, if your pupil forgot to check their blind spot before pulling out, you might:

  • ask them if they know what they did wrong
  • explain why they need to make sure they check their blind spots next time

Risk management

Another area instructors commonly fail on is not giving pupils enough feedback on any potentially dangerous situations.

As well as providing your pupil with timely and appropriate feedback, it’s important that if they make any serious or dangerous faults they know what they’ve done and why it’s dangerous.

It’s up to you to make sure they understand this, so they don’t make the same mistake again.

At the end of the test

At the end of the standards check your examiner will give you feedback about any areas where you need to develop. You can refer to the national standard for driver and rider training to help you understand what you could be doing differently.


In my opinion and the opinion of many professional ADI’s, there are many reasons that contribute to getting a good or average grade on a standards check that are not taken into consideration in the DVSA’s report.

And to add insult to injury when the DVSA say they will publish the grading system on their “find your nearest driving instructor” portal, so people can find the top instructors in their area is an insult to many instructors who’s grade doesn’t reflect the service they provide their students, their pass rate, or their ability to get students to a high standard of driving ability.


To read the full DVSA report please click here