Selection of Assessors

Selection of Assessors

41TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Cancun, Mexico, 15-19 April 2002

WP No. 161

Selection of Assessors

Introduction

When the work program for SC4 was being set at conference in Geneva 2001, the subject of Selection of Assessors was listed. It was considered desirable to discuss standards that should be met in the selection of Assessors.

Currently IFATCA does not have existing detailed policy on this subject. The matter has also been discussed in previous working papers at past conferences.

This paper will attempt to expand on the previous work and define minimum standards that should be met in the selection of Assessors, or Check Controllers, as they shall be referred to in this paper.

Discussion

IFATCA has existing Professional Policy about Proficiency Checking, specifically, IFATCA Manual, page 4343, paragraphs 4.5. However this policy does not detail any criteria for the selection of Check Controllers.

4.5. Proficiency Checking

4.5.3. Member Associations should, together with their management, draw up a “code of conduct” which to the greatest possible extent will guarantee the objectivity and confidentiality of proficiency checks.

4.5.6. IFATCA is in support of a proficiency checking system for all air traffic controllers exercising the privileges of an ATC License or an equivalent Certificate of Competency for all qualified persons engaged in the duties of air traffic control.

 

Additionally, the IFATCA POLICY DOCUMENT ON TRAINING (2nd edition, February 1989, amended Geneva 2001, IFATCA manual 4 3-A 16) states:

“Training before Competency Checks

Methods of checking the proficiency of the controller are desirable. The sophistication of modern equipment, the complexity of air traffic and airspace structure and the volume of air traffic demand that the Air Traffic Controller exercise his skills to the highest standards at all times if safety is to be preserved.

From the training point of view when a system of proficiency checking is to be set up and then implemented, all the staff concerned need to be educated on the purpose of the system, its aims and how it will be administered.

Specialist checkers will have to be selected and trained so as to reach a common standard of assisting and reporting. Specific training or refresher courses plus adequate training facilities may have to be established whenever there is doubt about the ability of controllers to perform their tasks to the required standard. If controllers do not come up to the necessary standard then they must be given the chance to receive the re-training they need.”

 

However, this policy does not elaborate on this topic of selection and training of Check Controllers.

IFATCA policy has defined a minimum experience level for controllers selected as an OJTI. (Page 4331):

3.1.4 Apart from being validated on the sector concerned, a controller should not be engaged in training student controllers unless he/she has at least two years’ operational experience and has been validated on that sector for at least six months (Copenhagen 78.C.15, amended Geneva 01.C.5).

 

This is an obvious base from which to formulate experience criteria for Check Controllers.

At the conference in Toronto 1980, a paper was presented titled “The Proficiency Checking of Air Traffic Controllers” (WP39 TORONTO 1980). This paper covered the whole checking process, but on the subject of selection of Check Controllers, stated that checkers should undergo special training, be currently rated on the position, and be recent on the position.

Building upon this previous work, SC4 believes it appropriate that a controller selected as an Check Controller, should have considerable overall ATC experience, and solid experience on the position being assessed.

SC4 recommends that a Check Controller should have at least 4 years ATC experience, and at least 1 year experience on the position being assessed. Additionally the Assessor should be current on the position being assessed. The Check Controller should also have been previously assessed as being highly competent in the skills to be assessed.

SC4 also believes that a Check Controller should have considerable previous experience in the OJTI role, as the qualities required in this role form a good base for the development of the required skills needed by a Check Controller.

One of the essential skills that a candidate for Check Controller should have proven in his/her experience in the OJTI role, is a high level of communication skills in the coaching and developing aspects of the role. This should be reflected in a successful track record as an OJTI. SC4 believe that development of these communication skills in training to become a Check Controller is critical to the task.

SC4 believes that controllers performing the Check Controller role, should undergo the same periodic proficiency assessments as other controllers.

Proficiency checks are conducted for both initial and recurrent assessment purposes. SC4 does not believe that a controller selected to perform the Check Controller role need be a Supervisor.

As noted in paragraph 2.2 above, IFATCA policy already states that where controllers are selected as Check Controllers they should undergo a specific training course, (IFATCA POLICY DOCUMENT ON TRAINING (IFATCA manual page 4 3-A 16)).

IFATCA has existing policy regarding Refresher Training, (IFATCA Manual, page 4 3 5 1, section 5.2), and SC4 believes that the skills used by Check Controllers should be included in appropriate Refresher Training.

Conclusion

Where a proficiency checking system has been implemented, a controller who is selected to act in the check controller role should undergo a specialist course of training that will prepare him/her for the task, and provide guidance on achieving a fair, objective, and valid assessment. This training course should achieve consistency between check controllers.

Additionally, a controller considered for the check controller role should have the following minimum experience:

  • 4 years operational experience;
  • 1 year experience on the position being assessed;
  • previous OJTI experience;
  • having a high standard of communication skills in the OJTI/coaching role ;
  • currency on the position being assessed.

Check Controllers should undergo the same periodic proficiency assessments as other controllers.

This Assessor qualification should be the subject of periodic refresher training, at periods not exceeding 3 years, to ensure that skills are maintained and new techniques and procedures are incorporated.

Recommendations

Amend IFATCA, page 4343, section 4.5, by adding the following paragraphs:

4.5.8  Where a proficiency checking system has been implemented, a controller who is selected to act in the Check Controller role should undergo a specialist course of training that will prepare him/her for the task, and provide guidance on achieving a fair, objective, and valid assessment. This training course should achieve consistency between check controllers.

4.5.9  Additionally, a controller considered for the Check Controller role should have the following minimum experience:

  • 4 years operational experience;
  • 1 year experience on the position being assessed;
  • 2 years OJTI experience;
  • having a high standard of credibility and communication skills in the OJTI/coaching role; and
  • currency on the position being assessed.

4.5.10 Check Controllers should undergo the same periodic proficiency assessments as other controllers.

4.5.11 This Assessor qualification should be the subject of periodic refresher training, at periods not exceeding 3 years, to ensure that skills are maintained and new techniques and procedures are incorporated.

References

IFATCA Manual.

IFATCA Professional and Technical Manual.

WP39 TORONTO 1980.

Last Update: September 29, 2020  

March 14, 2020   201   Jean-Francois Lepage    2002    

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