Author Topic: Changes to Training Procedure  (Read 961 times)

Krikor Hajian

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Changes to Training Procedure
« on: March 10, 2017, 06:39:08 pm »
Team,

Effective immediately, the following changes are in effect to controllers at ZDC.

Minor Training - Controllers will now acquire S1, S2 and S3 ratings at Norfolk, VA (KORF). This is being done for a couple of reasons. Controllers will learn the basics of their position (ground, delivery, local and TRACON) in an environment that does not have complex procedures. Clearances are simple CRAFT with only one departure procedure. There is normally only one runway in use for arrivals and departures. Arrivals need vectoring and hard altitudes, no descend via's with runway transitions. This will teach controllers the fundamentals of controlling before they move to the complex Class B airports. This will also give Instructors and Mentors an additional chance to work with students before a certification to work the major, more busy airfields. As well, it separates the Class Bravo airports (except ADW), which has different procedures, particularly for VFR aircraft.

VATUSA Exams - Exams will now be done through the VATUSA website. Requesting the exams remains the same on the forums, however they will be assigned on the VATUSA website by an instructor. To access test, go to "My VATUSA" (in the upper right) and click "Exam Center." On the left, click "View My Assignments." You will be able to take the exams there. The actual exams are the same, either 20 or 25 questions, and all require an 80% or higher score to pass. These tests do NOT have  retests for 60-80% scores as on the current website, you must pass them. Once you complete test corrections (assuming you failed), see below for those, you may re-request the exam. Note that they do not automatically reassign, you must re-request it 3 days (72 hours) after your test corrections are accepted by a mentor or instructor.

Test Corrections - All exams have a passing grade of 80%. Any score below 100% on an exam, regardless of pass or fail, requires a student to complete test corrections on the ZDC forums. To do so, create a new forum thread in this board, titled "Name (OI) - (Exam Name)." For example, "Krikor Hajian (HI) - S1 Major Facilities." Then, for each question you get wrong, post the question, your response, correct response, and a correct citation. This cannot be from a CBT or any future training materials we release, it must be an FAA source (7110.65, AIM, etc.) or a facility SOP/LOA. Please make sure to number your questions as well so we are able to carry on a discussion about them if need to be and so we can keep track of which ones are good to go and which aren't. For example;

 1. A CAT I aircraft is on approach following a CAT II aircraft. What is the SRS requirement?
My Answer: 6,000 ft
Correct Answer: 3,000 ft
Source: FAA 7110.65 4-3-2b (NOTE: I made up this source. It is not a correct citation for SRS)

Then, a mentor or instructor will go and check over the corrections. They will respond;

1) Good. Request the next exam/re-request the exam/retake the exam/request training when you’re ready.

--

ORF Training will start immediately. Anyone currently in training at a major airfield will not have to switch to ORF unless they specifically request to. Any previous exams or those currently pending on the ZDC website will be honored. The 3120 has been updated to include these changes.

Norfolk is now an option in the training dashboard for students requesting minor training.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 10:35:09 am by Krikor Hajian »
Krikor Hajian (HI) - 1283146
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Aaron Albertson

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Re: Changes to Training Procedure
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2017, 09:32:43 pm »
Krikor,

I'm not sure if this is the best place to do this or not, if not feel free to remove or move to another board.

I admire your passion and your effort you have put into this ARTCC, and think you have gone leaps and bounds to making things more streamlined and efficient when it comes to training.   I cannot speak to other TA's as this is the first time I've interacted so much with one, but what I've seen is excellent so far - Let me start off with that.

However - Your logic on the testing corrections for all exams at 80 to 100% seems a bit extreme to be perfectly honest.  If someone passed an exam, why are we forcing them to go find the reference and recite it like it's a college paper, with citations and then have it reviewed?  I get we are supposed to be learning this material, and you are trying to turn us into better controllers - But some people do not learn that way.  To be frank and perfectly honest, this will do nothing for me but add frustration and extra time to something I volunteer to do and work for.  I don't have a ton of time to control, or to play games as much as I used to as a kid, however the time that I do have I do enjoy coming on and controlling and volunteering my time for the VATSIM community.   But what I can tell you is the last thing I want to do after a long day of work, is to come home, take a test, and then have to make corrections when I missed 1-5 questions because of either poor wording on the question, judgement calls of other controllers, or just dumb luck.   Sometimes people make mistakes on their tests too - but in this reality that you are sending a message, that we should be punished for.  Don't get me wrong I think it's a grand thing that we are wanting to review questions we missed to help us understand why we did, but I believe the time to reflect on this is in a following session with an instructor or Mentor.  Quite frankly anytime I've had a session that is what we typically do. Review the test together try to understand what was missed and why.   I can only speak for myself in this regard, but I know for a fact that every-time I've had an exam I have come back and asked questions on why I missed it, and want to understand the concept so I don't make the same error again.   However making corrections even though they have passed only encourages people not to move up, and try to advance when they have the fear that they will have to submit corrections even though they passed? -- Seems kind of counter-intuitive.

Kindly as a member of the community, I would respectfully ask you to take into consideration some of us just do not learn that way, and it will not help.   Please understand that I do not mean you any malice in this message either.  My intentions are for awareness not to provoke action. 

Thank you,

Aaron
S3 ZDC Controller


Krikor Hajian

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Re: Changes to Training Procedure
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2017, 10:19:19 pm »
Aaron,

However - Your logic on the testing corrections for all exams at 80 to 100% seems a bit extreme to be perfectly honest.  If someone passed an exam, why are we forcing them to go find the reference and recite it like it's a college paper, with citations and then have it reviewed?

The main focus here is to make sure students are reviewing ALL of their mistakes. This is not going to add hours and hours to your time spent; especially as you will take no more than three exams for the remainder of your career at ZDC. These are designed to make sure students learn to use official sources such as the FAA 7110.65. Many of these can be found in a matter or minutes or even seconds using the ctrl+f function. We are not the only ARTCC to impliment this, and it has huge impacts on the controlling corps.

and then have to make corrections when I missed 1-5 questions because of either poor wording on the question, judgement calls of other controllers, or just dumb luck.   Sometimes people make mistakes on their tests too - but in this reality that you are sending a message, that we should be punished for.

1) If the question has obviously poor wording, or is confusing/unclear or out of date, obviously we are not going to make you pull your hair out to figure it out. Also, I'm not sure why you mention "judgement calls of other controllers, or just dumb luck." This has nothing to do with the exams, these are all open book, no one else is involved, and there is no randomness in anything related to the exams except for a random shuffle of questions based off those put into the database.

2) This is NOT a punishment. We are not forcing students to get a 100%, if you pass an exam, you do not have to retake it (assuming you complete these corrections). These corrections enforce following up on your mistakes, improving, and using resources appropriately. Even a LENGTHY test correction, which I've had to do at multiple facilities throughout my career, takes no longer than 30 minutes. The message that this sends is that we are always trying to improve - if you get a 96% on a test, you submit your correction, and then you know that extra 4%. Always striving and improving, even when it is by a small margin, is the attitude we want to encourage.

Quite frankly anytime I've had a session that is what we typically do. Review the test together try to understand what was missed and why.   I can only speak for myself in this regard, but I know for a fact that every-time I've had an exam I have come back and asked questions on why I missed it, and want to understand the concept so I don't make the same error again.   However making corrections even though they have passed only encourages people not to move up, and try to advance when they have the fear that they will have to submit corrections even though they passed? -- Seems kind of counter-intuitive.

Correct, previously you went over corrections with a mentor or instructor as a training session. Now, we do not have to spend time doing that, the onus is on the student to do this when they have time and for a mentor or instructor to quickly validate this. Also, if you're already looking up everything you got wrong, this should not be a big deal. All you have to do is copy the source (i.e. FAA 7110.65 3-3-4b) into a forum post. Certifications are not to be simply handed out, and at the same time it is important for students to be able to find things quickly and using appropriate sources. We cannot simply test people on every single item in an SOP, and at the same time we cannot expect everyone to actually score a 100% on this exam. This makes sure that people are learning the correct material, and that they are able to find things when they get things wrong. By the time a student begins training, they will know where and how to look things up, no matter the item.

Overall, this policy cuts down on time the instructional staff has to spend blocked out with each individual student. It improves controlling quality, and does not add a significant amount of time to the training process. You can even do these corrections on the side while you are already controlling on a quiet Thursday night. If you are unhappy with having to complete corrections, I am sorry, however I think you will find that they are really not as big a deal as you think. If you would like to continue this discussion, I encourage you to reach out to me at ta@vzdc.org.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 11:20:21 pm by Steven Fedor »
Krikor Hajian (HI) - 1283146
Former Training Administrator - Washington ARTCC

Krikor Hajian

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Re: Changes to Training Procedure
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 10:36:57 am »
The 3120 and Training Dashboard/Request system have been updated to include these changes and allow for ORF to be selected as a facility for those requesting training. For anyone currently undergoing training for a position at BWI/CHP, it is your choice if you wish to switch to ORF. If you have already had a session, just select which you want to do next when you book a session, put any comments in your remarks, or talk to an instructor or mentor. For anyone who has not had a session at BWI/CHP, you will start at ORF.
Krikor Hajian (HI) - 1283146
Former Training Administrator - Washington ARTCC