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Student Evaluation
2007-10-11

Student Evaluation

Evaluation is a teaching constant. It begins when the lesson begins. Continues throughout the lesson and for me can continue for years. Just today (5-11-98), I had a student bring to my attention that I had advised him to quit smoking over twenty-five years ago. My lesson at that time was re-evaluated twenty-five years later as a long-term positive influence on the pilot's life.

Progress and even lack of progress is subject to evaluation as to why what is happening, is happening. Even success bears repetition as does a lesson that did not achieve sought for goals. I spend considerable instructional time introducing material. Introduced material is just that and not subject to the 'progress' evaluation. I introduce the four basics, slow-flight and the stall. I introduce ground reference. I introduce new airports and flight areas. I introduce all the different kinds of approaches and landings. I am not teaching for any level of proficiency. I am teaching for awareness and recognition. Every introduction is evaluated on that basis. Every introduction will be followed by one or more lessons that will be evaluated by a standard of, "Is the student safe to do this solo."

When I give a test or an oral quiz I do so with the intent that the student will both give the process and the reasons why that process is relatively more safe than any other. The reasoning behind an initial left clearing turn, going to slow-flight when #3 to land, and making 'on-course' requests from ATC is just as important as the performance. There is some rote knowledge that must be known. Even that rote knowledge will not be retained or be useful unless it is applied in an actual flight situation.

The beauty of an oral examination that includes a walk-through by the student is that it allows immediate evaluation and correction. Clearing problems on the ground is far more efficient and effective than with the student under flying stresses. The oral presentation lead to clearer understanding and interpretation of the technical terms of aviation.

During the proficiency phase or instruction I deliberately set up situations that require the student to make decisions. I have them talk through their options if low or high on final. What are your options to correct the situation what are your options if your plan won't work? What do you plan to do the next time so this situation won't arise again? The process is one of evaluating judgment under stress as well as performance.

Written by Gene Whitt

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