There’s an update to this story about an examiner who reckons he was sacked for not failing people on purpose. The updated story is in the Sunday Mail and Daily Record (Scottish news sites), and includes an interview with Jim Kerr.
It really is clear that Mr Kerr does not have a clue how statistics work, and cannot accept the simple fact that if he is passing more people than every other examiner, then either every other examiner is doing it all wrong… or he is. This is what I suggested in the previous post on this topic.
I also suggested that there was more to Mr Kerr’s story than meets the eye. It appears this is also true:
Jim, who worked at Glasgow’s Shieldhall Test Centre, said: “I was called in last March and told that, because my pass rate was higher than my colleagues’, I must be doing things wrong – and had to fail more people.
“I was shocked. I was probably the most experienced examiner at Shieldhall and possibly the only one not to have a disagreed decision in the quality control process.”
Jim, of Newlands, Glasgow, was so affected by the situation that he signed off sick with stress.
It isn’t clear whether “last March” is March 2010, or March 2009, but the wording seems to point to it being the latter. In other words, Mr Kerr has been dismissed after being off work for a prolonged period of time. This is standard company (any company) practice – you cannot just keep paying people when it is clear they are not capable of working.
The DSA makes it clear why he wasn’t dismissed:
A DSA spokesman said: “Mr Kerr’s dismissal was in no way linked to any variation in pass rates.
“Examiners are trained to assess all tests in strict accordance with DSA guidelines; their performance is monitored to ensure they meet the high standards required of them, but they do not have quotas.
“Every test is assessed independently and on its own merits.”
From what I can see – and putting two and two together – Mr Kerr was not happy about an internal change, thought himself better than everyone around him (he virtually says this in the interview), refused to accept the amendments to the performance monitoring system or the statistical anomalies in his own performance, and went off sick (allegedly with stress, but I suspect at least partly with a strop on).
The claim that he was told to “fail more people” is his own interpretation of something he disagreed with. As I said in the previous post on this subject, I don’t doubt for a moment that some examiners fail people just to avoid getting into any sort of disciplinary trouble and maintain an artificial variance, but the DSA sure as hell doesn’t tell them to do it!
Do driving examiners fail people deliberately?
The short answer is NO. They do not. They are not told to fail people as part of any quota.
However, there are corrupt people in all walks of life, and as I’ve explained elsewhere it is possible that some examiners – a tiny percentage – fiddle their pass rates in order to avoid being “told off” by their managers.
EDIT 30/09/2010: I’m getting hits on “examiner told to fail pupils”. Mr Kerr was NOT told to fail pupils. That was his own idiotic take on being told he was not doing his job properly by passing far more people than any other examiners were doing.
Mr Kerr appears to have gone off sick after refusing to acknowledge he was not doing his job properly and that he was passing people who were not up to standard. He was off “sick” for what looks like more than a year. His employment was terminated for THAT reason.
It is also worth noting his behaviour after the event. He apparently decided to stand outside the test centre handing out his inaccurate claims in leaflet form. He was removed and threatened with arrest if he did it again. Can you imagine what it would be like for a learner going to test having some imbecile giving that sort of thing to you?
Mr Kerr’s actions clearly show that he was not the Colossus of Sense and Reason he appears to think he is.