MOT Tester Annual Assessment – irrelevant questions?

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During the MOT Tester annual assessment this year,Testers find they are being tested on aspects of the DVSA disciplinary process, which many of them feel is irrelevant to their ability to carry out a competent MOT.

[We raised this issue directly with DVSA and have now received a response, which is published at the end of this article.]

We were recently contacted by an MOT Tester who asked us why DVSA are asking detailed questions about disciplinary point scoring which of itself plays no part at all in testing a Tester’s ability to conduct a good quality MOT inspection. Here’s what he had to say:

Dear Sir
I am writing to you about the latest Annual Assessment.
As an MOT Tester only, I have found it really irrelevant and a waste of time to have been reading up on the details of the MOT Inspection, and then being tested on the subject of ‘discipline’. 
In my opinion, and that of my colleagues at work, and I would assume that of the majority of MOT Testers, is that time and effort spent on learning and refreshing on actual MOT Testing standards would be more productive and more effective. 

We all know if we do something wrong, whether by mistake, error of judgment etc, that we will have DVSA on our backs in one way or another. Until that happens, I don’t see what the point is of my knowing what points will be awarded for this or that transgression, or how long cessation will last for different things I might do wrong. 

On top of that why ask “trick” questions so as to cause confusion? At the end of the day we want to Test to the best of our ability and to follow the Testing Manual as best as possible. More should be done to make the Testing Manual easier to understand and follow. Currently It is nowhere near as clear and easy to follow as it used to be.

Everything is “higgletypigglty”  and it is a real struggle to find things. Surely his should be addressed rather than trying to test us by confusing questions which I would imagine is a real struggle for those that have issues with academia and are not used to following complicated texts.

Attached are some of the questions from the ABC awards test which have no relevance at all to my ability to do a good MOT Test.

At MOT Testing we hadn’t realised what was happening and asked him to send us a sample of the questions he was concerned about. Shown below are six such questions from the ABC version of the assessment questions.

MOT Annual Assessment Test Question 1
MOT Annual Assessment Test Question 2

And he’s right! The issues raised these questions relate more directly to the AE’s management of MOT staff than the actual execution of the Test by Testers. It is the AE who should be expected to understand the disciplinary outcomes in the Testing Guide as part of managing wider issues connected with operating the Testing Station. Perhaps such questions should appear in an Annual AE Assessment test!

The Testers’ Annual Assessment has historically (and correctly) focussed on the ability of the Tester to make sound decisions when carrying out an MOT Inspection, and to have a solid understanding of the content of the Testers’ Manual. Surely, now expecting Testers to start delving into the mysteries of the MOT Guide as well will detract from the primary main aim of the assessment, to confirm the Testers’ knowledge of the MOT inspection process?

We’ve heard that these questions have caused much consternation, anxiety and concern amongst Testers who have found the latest Assessment Test much more difficult than they expected, with many questions unconnected with the inspection itself. We invite the DVSA to ‘think again’ about the nature of the latest version of their Annual Assessment for Testers.

We have raised this with the DVSA, and as soon as we receive a response, we’ll let you know what they say.

Note: This year the Annual Assessment deadline for MOT Testers has been extended by DVSA to 30th April 2021. 

Testers Annual Assessment – response from DVSA

We raised the issue of some of the Testers Annual Assessment questions being about the actual detail of penalties awarded for different transgressions of the MOT rules with DVSA, and have received the following response from Head of MOT Policy Chris Price
“The changes to the annual assessment this year have been planned and agreed, while I agree in part that disciplinary applies to the AE roles it is also key that a tester is aware of the possible sanctions that can be imposed on them. We have seen a spike in test record corrections indicating that testers are making more mistakes, we hope that the inclusion of disciplinary into the annual assessment will highlight the sanctions for mistake and focus minds and reduce errors.
Also the MOT testing guide is an integral document to be used along with the inspection manuals to fulfil correct operation of the MOT testing scheme.
We appreciate it is a large document, though there are many sections detailing rules around aspects relevant to the role of a tester, ie documentation, vehicle classes and discipline etc.
This is why we have included some aspects within this year’s assessment to allow testers to gain experience on searching the guide to enable correct operation of the MOT scheme other than it being merely a physical examination of a vehicle.
Each year we publish the areas which the assessment covers, to allow testers time to review the content of the subject areas. This can be found at;
The items that are to be covered within the 3 hrs CPD clearly states documentation and disciplinary procedures.
We also state it is at least 3 hours of training each year.
With the comments around searching the guide for ‘key’ words. Had these sections been reviewed as part of the 3 hours minimum CPD, I would expect a person to be able to navigate to these section without any undue problems and find the answers from the assessment with ease”.
Chris Price | Head of MOT policy | MOT testing service 

Further comment from our editor Jim Punter:
Personally I disagree with the DVSA on this. Having Testers trawling through the detailed penalties listed in the Guide instead of studying the Manual is like asking airline pilots to spend their time learning about the detailed penalties they might get for breaking air-space regulations, rather than have them learning about those regulations and the flight characteristics and safety aspects of flying the airliner in which you are a passenger – which would you prefer? – JP

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