Driving instructors, are your learner drivers making the same mistake?
I'm referring here to the theory test. They've been working hard, possibly using Theory Test Pro so you know how well they've been doing. They book their test and you are hopeful they will pass. Sadly they contact you, totally gutted, because they failed by just one mark!
But do you let them know that this actually means they got 8 questions wrong?
I had this conversation recently, not with one of my own pupils (although that has also happened - see below) but with the trainee hairdresser washing my hair. She told me how upset she was to have failed her theory test, for the 4th time, by just 3 marks. I sympathised but then reminded her this meant she had got 10 questions wrong. She was shocked! "No", she said," I only got 3 wrong!"
It took quite a lot of explaining that the pass mark of 43 is out of 50! She knew there were 50 questions but hadn't made the connection with the pass mark! She even asked me how many she would have to get right to get 100%!
You could argue that this was an isolated case, but I had a similar conversation with one of my pupils. I know her schooling background, how she struggled and was overlooked quite a lot in class by her teachers (she's dyslexic but never diagnosed at school!). She seemed to have got herself into the belief that the pass mark was the highest you could score so I had to put her right when she failed by just one mark. It came as a surprise to her too that she actually got 8 questions wrong!
So, are your learner drivers also making the same mistake?
I believe that, pass or fail, the report the candidates are given at the end of the test should show exactly which questions they got wrong - not the answers, just the questions. This way, with our help, we might stand a chance of putting novice drivers on the road who actually understand all the rules! What is the point of letting people pass such an important test, where they may have got up to 7 questions wrong, and yet they have no idea which ones?