View Full Version : Exam marking

18th Jul 2004, 21:50
buster172, you stated in your post of one of the employees:

"She marked exams and erm, I donít know what else."

Presumably 'she' was an authorised PPL Examiner? Standards Document 11 states quite clearly (para 3.3.4):

"NEVER allow anybody but the examiner to have sight of the examiner's master answers."

and also states in para 5.1.1:

"Examination papers may only be marked by the examiner. If the examination has been delegated, all papers shall be returned to the examiner immediately after the end of the examination. Answer sheets should bear the name in block capitals and signatures of both the invigilator and the examiner who marked the paper and also the date of the examination."

If PPL examination papers have been marked by other than an authorised Examiner, not only would they have been conducted improperly but also their security would have been compromised; the validity of all other examinations conducted at that RF could then well be in question.

In addition to merely marking papers, examiners are required to debrief succesful applicants on those questions which they failed to answer correctly. Ironically, the PPL exams are the only ones where your errors are pointed out to you!

19th Jul 2004, 17:38

It was a few years ago now and I couldnít say with my hand on my heart if she was or not. I cant remember who the examiner was or who handed out the papers, I just recall her telling me I had passed my resit with top marks, but she said very little about it, just told me mark, almost in passing and that was it. I donít recall being de briefed on the exams at all, but may have been. Itís a long time ago and itís the flying experiences that really stick out.

Perhaps others who have been could share their experiences regarding exams?

I am going to speak to one of the guys I am still in touch with and see what his recollections of it all were and perhaps he will remember who 'she' was.

However the point of my post was to illustrate the huge difference in instructors I experienced, Iím sure there are good and bad at any school but purely remarked on my experience as it was at OBA.

Looking forward to some other ex student replies.


19th Jul 2004, 20:27
When i was there it was the girls behind the desk that marked the exams. They had a mask that they dumped over the answer paper then circled in the ones you got wrong and added them up.

I presume they didn't have examiners ratings as they didn't have PPL's.


19th Jul 2004, 21:36
Chaps, those are very serious allegations regarding improper conduct of official CAA exams. Are you really certain that's how your exams were marked? Who debriefed you on the questions you didn't get right?

19th Jul 2004, 21:53
Well now, if thems how its being done it should be bought the attention of the powers. In this case the CAA. Shortcuts conducted by those not given the authority to do so is really a severe black mark against the school and against the owner - Adrian Thompson. Might I suggest that this method of marking may well invalidate the exam and the student is then - and now - illegal! That would be a nice state of affairs don't you think! :mad:

Maybe Mr Thompson would like to use this thread to assure everyone that their exams were properly conducted, and produce evidence to say that these part-time markers were authorised to mark exams.

19th Jul 2004, 22:05
Yes thats how all mine were marked anyway. And i never had a invigilator. You picked the exam up from the desk and went into a briefing room then handed it back to the desk when you finished. And there was no debrief afterwards. You just got told if you passed or failed, then it was off onto the next one. No debriefs.

To be honest most of the FAA instructors would have struggled with the JAR theory exams anyway.

And strange may it seem I really don't think that OBA is alone in this practise.


19th Jul 2004, 22:25
Mad-jock is correct. Numerous of the schools (at least out here) have non-examiners marking the papers - and the CAA have already been told.

I know of one place where the owners mother told me that I was not allowed to mark examination papers - only she and the owner were allowed to do them - oh, and the accountant did some, too.

That was despite the fact that I was the nominated custodian of the papers and the only authorised examiner in the company.

19th Jul 2004, 22:38
I wouldn't say its uncommon in the UK either in my experence.

In fact this the first time I have found out that FI's arn't allowed to mark the exams.


Send Clowns
19th Jul 2004, 23:35
I have recently been made aware also that I was given completely incorrect information by staff. I believe this is given to most students. Technically this also invalidates one section of required training for most of the PPLs from OBA when I was there. Not sure if the practice has changed now.

I did a PPL qualifying cross country out there, just in case I wanted to get a JAA PPL when I returned (did not in the end, completed ATPL exams on the strength of my FAA licence completed at a decently-run school some years before). We were told just to get the forms signed off by anyone who was there, just find someone. I found someone working on an aircraft ina hangar in Keystane, as no-one was in teh office. This is because they send people to places where there is rarely anyone manning the frequency to witness the landing and sign students off. This advice is wrong! I am not sure of the exact requirements (LASORS may help), but the CAA takes a very dim view of this.

Talking to other students they seemed to have the same advice given. Therefore I suspect that very few PPL qualifying cross countries from OBA at that time were actually valid. Beware. Go somewhere there is a manned tower or at least a manned G/A station. Otherwise you risk having to redo your QXC on return. That could be expensive!

Luckily for me the CPL qualifier doesn't have to be signed off.

20th Jul 2004, 04:30
Just to push the argument to the extreme, could examinations marked by a non-authorised/qualified person be invalid?

If so, prospective candidates should be warned about this and told to insist that they are correctly marked.

You never know, it could just be your licence application that gets chosen to be checked, when you're back in the UK and unable to argue the toss with the FTO, regardless of which one it is.

20th Jul 2004, 06:56
Clowns, et al - whilst I appreciate your "concern" for the validity of the qualifying cross country flown by many students, I would point out that even if they did fly to "towered airports", they would NOT be allowed access to the tower to get a ATC'er to sign the relevant form.

This all stopped in the USA following 9/11. And, even before then, no American ATC'er would sign the form to state that the standard of airmanship or landing was good - they are too freaked out by the possibility of litigation should anything happen later.

Whilst working as the (supposed - at least, theoretical) Head of Training of a Florida flight school, I did argue the case with the CAA about this very subject.

The school - as all schools are - was obliged to write both an "Operations Manual" and a "Training Manual". Part of the Training Manual was the requirement to have the standard form signed by ATC at two 'remote' airfields. As this was impossible, I was not prepared to write this section of the manual and then completely ignore it (as all the other JAA schools do [to this day]).

I insisted (and the CAA inspector agreed) that the form be rewritten to say that somebody, ANYBODY, (even the guy mowing the grass), could sign to say that the aircraft appeared to arrive alone and at what time the person was asked to sign the form. Remember, the form suggested by AOPA is only a SUGGESTION!!

In this way we could check the "leg times" and fuel burn of the aircraft to see if the student got lost en-route - but that's all that we would know.

Before I got the opportunity to write this section into the manual other persons at the school got the idea that THEY should be the Head of Training and engineered my departure, so it never happened.

The chances of ANY USA based JAA student actually complying with the AOPA suggestion are slim to zero - and the CAA know this.

For once, it's not the schools fault. I'm not aware of one single student ever getting two signatures from ATC'ers - and I've been out here, doing or overseeing flight training, for almost seven years.

There is, however, no reason why the written examinations should be (set, or) marked by instructors, receptionists, accountants and/or flight school owners (or their mother).

20th Jul 2004, 13:56
When I did an RAF flying scholarship my PPL exams were marked by my instructor (who was NOT an examiner).

Once or twice I had to point out that my answers were correct and his not!

oxford blue
20th Jul 2004, 20:37
Should not this thread and the one one entitled "Conduct of PPL Theoretical examinations" be combined?

It gets a bit disorientating otherwise.

20th Jul 2004, 20:49
I agree. The confusion arose because someone decided to move this thread from another......

Thanks to all those who have sent PMs on the subject. Word from the Belgrano is that action could only be taken if people were prepared to substantiate their allegations.

Capt. Manuvar
21st Jul 2004, 12:27
Why don't we just have computer based testing like all other developed countries. I'm not in IT but i dont think it will involve a lot of effort. In fact all the CAA have to do is find a company like slyvian prometric or whatever they are called, and give them a few A4 sheets with the questions and answers and let them worry about the techie stuff. Flying schools can also set up testing terminals like the do in the US. The CAA then gets a % of the testing fee (something they are very good at, i must say;) )
In most flying schools the question papers are kept in a filing cabinet within reach of anyone and everyone.

21st Jul 2004, 13:05
No they are not! Mine are in a locked case, the combination of which is know only to the appointed Examiners. The case itself is locked in a cabinet, the keys of which are kept in an office to which only 4 people have access - and which is never left unlocked!

RF/FTOs MUST take security of their papers more seriously, otherwise we'll probably find our students having to sit exams at local testing centres - as the CPL/ATPL exams are.

21st Jul 2004, 16:20
I will go with Capt. Manuvar.

I have never needed to go and find a key to get the exam scripts or marking sheets. And to be honest i can't actually think of a school where the instructors haven't had access.

After the fact that the new exams proberly got dumped in exactly the same place as the old ones. The likely hood that they have been compromised is exactly the same as the old ones. And we didn't used to hear of loads of cheating going on.

The belgrano don't sound as if they care either. Will act if people will be prepared to substantiate their allegations. Aye right so your going to tell them you got your license illegally so they can take it off you or do more studying when you didn't cheat anyway. And as keygrip says if it has been reported already and nothing has been done.

I quite like the idea of a pc based system. You could dongle the program so only the dongle would need to be secured. Would be pretty easy to set up. The machine could debrief the student with set explanations (which would be nice as i have seen instructors arguing over what they really meant with a question). There would be no hassels trying to find an examiner to mark scripts.
Every month the schools either uploads the results by internet or sends a disk in. So no fiddeling more than 3 tries or a 74% pass.


21st Jul 2004, 16:41
CASA in Australia makes uses of an internet connected PC to take the PPL exam - just a simple 56k dial-up was sufficient (Other exams are also available)

It uses a special secure browser that takes over the OS to prevent the user opening or starting any other applications at the same time (a bit like a Kiosked PC).

The program guides you through the questions and provides a running timer and makes changing your mind much easier!

The program is started by a FI based on his license number and confirming with Photo ID you are who you say you are. At the end the test is submitted by the FI back to CASA for automatic checking (and recording). The student's result is instantaneous and can be printed-out for the CFI to go over questions that were wrong.

You'd think with the revenues and numbers of students the CAA could probably do this quite easily.

A sample exam is available at:



Send Clowns
22nd Jul 2004, 09:02
Interesting, Keygrip. The person who told me this (it was about another US school, not OBA) was from SRG. It needs to be resolved one way or the other, with the same rules either side of the Atlantic.

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