By the Book
The USPA Board of Directors has taken steps over the years to improve the quality of rating courses conducted around the world. With the development of the Instructor Examiner Rating Course and the restructuring of the examiner rating system several years ago, the final phase of revamping the USPA rating system concluded. However, one piece was missing. Many of the coach examiners were grandfathered into the system and never received any training on course facilitation and evaluation standards. So, the board made it a requirement that any coach examiner who had not been through the IERC must complete it by July 1, 2012, in order to maintain the coach examiner rating. The board put this requirement in place due to the wide range of quality found in coach courses around the country.
During rating courses, the USPA Instructional Rating Manual provides course examiners and candidates with clear guidance for ground and air evaluations. In spite of this, some examiners and evaluators take it upon themselves to change the criteria or skip something altogether, and thus begins the slippery slope of losing the standardization of the rating process. It is sad that there are still some examiners in the field who do such a poor job of running courses. Whether through laziness or ignorance on the part of the examiners or evaluators, the sad reality is that some candidates are destined to become lousy coaches and instructors, because they were never shown how to properly train and supervise students, and their ground and air skills were never correctly evaluated. Examiners and evaluators need to stick to the course materials and work to ensure that they properly train and evaluate each candidate.
USPA will continue to work on developing tools and guidelines to help examiners provide quality courses, so keep an eye out for new stuff. Conducting a proper coach or instructor rating course takes discipline, time and energy. Doing it the right way is not always easy, but your candidates deserve nothing less.
—Jim Crouch | D-16979
USPA Director of Safety & Training