After having adequately prepared, here are some pointers on how to effectively conduct a practical evaluation:
- Actively use the provided skill sheet(s)—they are not for reference only! Remember that these tools are designed to support you and our students.
- Instruct candidates to verbalize their thought process where visual observation alone would not suffice.
- Observe candidates closely, paying explicit attention to the skills being demonstrated but without getting in the way.
- If necessary, reposition yourself to see fine detail (e.g., move in closer to inspect a halyard knot or an SCBA cylinder connection).
- Stop the activity if any clear danger presents itself.
- Ensure appropriate safety procedures are followed.
- Don’t interrupt unless there is justifiable reason.
Remember that evaluation is about observation and not coaching. During evaluation, the onus is now on the individual candidate(s) to demonstrate what they are capable of. At this point, it is inappropriate to try to teach people, advise them or even gently guide them. Keeping instruction separate and distinct from evaluation protects the reliability and fairness of our whole testing process.
The following video shows a JIBC evaluator in action!
First, notice how the evaluator repositions himself to see the needed detail of a candidate’s performance. Then, note how he informs the candidate of his successful test results.