ADI standards check

The DVSA examiner will assess whether your instruction helps a person to learn in the most effective way in line with the National standard for driver and rider training. During the Standards Check, the examiner will observe you giving a 45-minute lesson to a real pupil. You may use an existing learner or a full licence holder, but you cannot use an ADI or someone who has passed Part 2 test of driving ability.

You must take at least one Standard Check during each 4-year period that you’re registered as an ADI. If you trigger a set of parameters due to your candidates failing more frequently than the national average or if other weaknesses are identified by the DVSA you could be invited to standards check earlier.

The Standards Check will last for about 45 minutes and there’s 15 minutes debriefing at the end of the test when you get a grade of your performance. With the Standards Check you get to select the route, pupil and establish the goals.

Selecting the training Area

Using a map of the test centre where the ADI Standards Check is starting from, mark out an interesting route with crossroads, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and plenty of junctions. You want to show the examiner how good a trainer you are. Avoid easy routes that offer little challenge or opportunities to develop your pupil.

Test Drive the route and make notes of any potential hazards and difficult areas on it such as one-way streets, closed junctions, double mini roundabouts, etc., so that you are ready for them with your pupil. The route should take 40 minutes to cover, 20 minutes out from the test centre and 20 minutes return journey. Make sure you get plenty of practice over your selected route.

Select the correct Goals

The last thing an examiner wants to be is stuck in the back of your car, watching a lesson that does not reflect the needs of the pupil. Make life easier and more manageable by choosing goals that are tailored to your pupils needs which you can demonstrate along your selected route.

Select the correct Pupil

Although the examiner will be assessing your ability to instruct and not your pupil’s ability to drive, nervous pupils, slow learners and novice learners can make life a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Select a pupil that you feel comfortable teaching, perhaps someone who responds well to the Q/A technique.

Make sure that your pupil is properly briefed about what the ADI Standards Check is, who will be conducting it, what the procedure is and what the general lesson plan will be.

On The Day:

Present yourself at the test centre about 5 minutes early. When the examiner walks out to you, walk with them to your car. On the way to your vehicle, you should talk the examiner through some background information about the pupil using a progress sheet or student logbook and about the lesson you intend to give. (much of this is covered with an engagement call a few days before the standards check).

You should let the enforcement examiner know during the engagement: Whether the person is a regular pupil of yours.

What you know about the pupil’s progress (referring to a progress report or student logbook).

What professional instruction the pupil has received.

Whether they are having any private practice.

Any strengths or weaknesses of which you are aware of.

Standards Check Form SC1 is the same as ADI Part 3 on the previous tab.

The assessment form SC1 has 3 key assessment areas:

  • Lesson Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Teaching and learning strategies
Presenting the Lesson

Structure the lesson to last 45 minutes and allow for an additional 15 minutes at the end for discussion with the examiner.

When you get to your car introduce the pupil to the examiner and reconfirm the purpose of the visit.

Emphasis to the pupil that it’s not them who is being assessed.

Encourage the pupil to be relaxed and to ask questions if there is anything that has not been understood.

Begin the lesson with a 2-minute recap of what was covered in the previous driving lesson. Asking relevant questions about the key points.

Spend another 1-minute setting the lesson goals with the pupil, remembering to ask the pupil if there is anything else they would like to see covered in the lesson. This will also let the examiner know what the current goals are.

Conduct the lesson

Spend 2 minutes debriefing at the end:

Asking the pupil for their feedback of the lesson

Inviting the pupil to ask questions

Giving your feedback on areas of strength and weakness

Look forward to the next lesson, indicating which goals will be covered

suggesting any relevant reading material that needs to be studied.

Managing Risk

Ensure safety during the lesson by being proactive with your instruction to prevent potentially dangerous situations developing.

Make sure the terminology used is clear and accurate, and that all directions given are clear and in good time.

At all times, be aware of the surroundings, the pupils’ actions and other road users’ actions.

Any verbal or physical intervention must be timed correctly and appropriately.

Always explain why you intervened, including highlighting the dangers and risks of the pupils’ actions.

Ensure the pupil understands the dangers and risks of their actions including their responsibilities when driving.

Deal with any driving faults using Client Centred Learning and adapt the lesson if necessary to meet the pupils needs and keep the lesson safe.

Be aware that many instructors cause unintentional faults with poor instructions, bad timing and poor basic planning.

The examiner will look at:

How you instruct, and how clear, thorough, and correct your instruction is.

Your observation of the pupils’ errors, and whether you help correct them properly

Your manner, patience, tact, and ability to develop your pupil so that learning takes place.

Two very common instructional errors arise from not matching the level of instruction to the ability of the pupil. These are: Under-Instruction and Over- Instruction.


This often happens when an instructor tries to conduct an easy lesson or mock test letting the pupil drive around and saying very little nothing until the end. This gives the examiner very little information about your methods of instruction.


Unless the pupil is in the very early stages of instruction, or practising a new skill for the first time, avoid talking them round or telling them everything.

Over-instruction often occurs when the pupil is practising new skills, mixed in with consolidating existing skills. For example, you may ask a pupil to attempt a crossroads and give them a complete talk-through when you should be using the Q/A technique to demonstrate they can transfer their existing skills into this exercise.

Don't ask too many unnecessary questions, bombarding the pupil. The examiner may interpret this as over- instruction and this can also be distracting leading to unexpected driving faults.

Avoid Nit-Picking:

Constant “nit-picking” may undermine the confidence of the pupil. Where very minor errors occur in isolation that do not affect or control, it may be better not to mention them.


Encouragement should be given when needed, and praise given where credit is due. This is just as important as the correction of driving faults, as it will develop the pupil’s confidence and inspire further effort.


You should look professional and be sure your vehicle is spotless on the outside as well as the inside.

Use Client Centred (CCL) Teaching/Learning Strategies:

CCL isn’t just about Q/A, it’s about helping your pupil fully understand the effects of their actions resurfacing in the future.

  • Prepare in advance – your car, the route, the pupil
  • Brief the pupil on the standards check.
  • Use a two-way Question and Answer techniques
  • Ensure learning takes place during the lesson
  • Identify, analyse and correct any faults using CCL
  • Use encouragement when needed and praise when deserved
  • Sum up at the end of the lesson and look forward to the next one.
  • Choose a nervous, slow learner or unreliable pupil.
  • Use late or retrospective instruction.
  • Spend the time doing very little instruction.
  • Try to carry out a mock test.
  • The Result.

At the end of the Standards Check the examiner will have assessed your instruction and will give you grade A or B. F is a failure.

Marking System:
  • 0 - Complete lack of competence
  • 1 - Few competencies demonstrated satisfactorily
  • 2 - Most competencies satisfactory
  • 3 - All competencies satisfactory
The following shortfalls will result in automatic fail:

Obtaining a score of under 8 in the section ‘risk management’.

Failing to manage incidents involving critical safety issues effectively resulting in the examiner stopping the lesson Failing to identify weaknesses or inform the pupil of a critical safety issues.

A total of 51 points is attainable. The pass mark is 31, with a minimum score of 8 in the ” risk management” section.

The grade boundaries are as follows:

Grade A: 43-51 (You have shown a high standard or instruction)

Grade B: 31-42 (There is room for improvement, and you’ll stay on the register)

Fail: 0-30

If you fail the Standards Check, you’ll have 2 more attempts to pass. If you fail 3 times:

You’ll be removed from the ADI register.

You’ll have to retake the ADI tests to join the ADI register again.

Preparation for the Standards Checks most important if you wish to get the best possible grading. If you are in doubt over any instructional points, you should consider taking some additional training to update your teaching skills. It might be worthwhile to do this anyway, rather than leave it too late and be told that your methods are outdated, and the enforcement examiner gives you an F.


DVSA’s latest analysis shows the top 5 areas where instructors fail to demonstrate competence are where they haven’t:

Adapted the lesson plan, when appropriate, to help the pupil work towards their learning goals

Taught the lesson in a style suited to the pupil’s learning style and current ability

Encouraged the pupil to analyse problems and take responsibility for their learning

Given the pupil appropriate and timely feedback during the session

Given enough feedback to help the pupil understand any potentially safety- critical incidents


You’ll get a letter from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) when you need to book your approved driving instructor (ADI) standards check.

You can book a standards check online. It doesn’t cost anything.

You’ll need your:

  • driving licence number
  • ADI personal reference number

Click here to book your Standards Check