Assessment is used only in the context of the licensing and certification process. Assessment is the testing of competency against specific standard criteria used for certification or licensing. The input is the formal test of competence against a set of stated, standardized criteria; the output is the assessment, either objective (e.g., multiple-choice test) or subjective (assessor completion of a simulation checklist).

This use of more-narrowly defined terminology extends to the terms instructors and evaluators in the context of training programs and assessors in the context of licensing and certification.


Within the simulator environment, performance evaluations for trainees may be informal or formal, subjective or objective, or both. Performance assessments for licensing candidates conducted in a simulator environment are always formal, though they may also be objective or subjective or both.

Informal Evaluations

By far the most common type of evaluation is informal. These evaluations, most of which are implicit, are routinely conducted as an integral part of simulator-based training courses. They are typically conducted on an ad hoc basis and are usually not written. The most common form of informal evaluation is the undocumented debriefing of an exercise by an instructor or instructors. These routine, ad hoc evaluations are used to adjust exercise content and timing and to guide trainees toward achieving planned learning objectives.

Instructors also evaluate the results of training to help improve course content and methodology. They evaluate each student's professional background, experience, attitude, and aptitude to select the most appropriate learning methods and measurements. The instructor may also evaluate the results of each exercise to provide expert critiques of performance activity and/or facilitate trainee exercise debriefings and conduct peer evaluations of the results.

Trainees also conduct evaluations. They continuously evaluate the degree to which a course is moving them toward meeting their personal or professional development objectives. Similarly, the sponsors of trainees make implicit evaluations on a course's value to their organizational objectives. The results of the course performance may or may not be formally recorded and retained. Generally, formal records are not retained, although there are exceptions, such as when grades need to be assigned to meet baccalaureate requirements.

Private, Informal Evaluations

Sometimes, albeit infrequently, training sponsors or pilot associations have requested that simulator facilities conduct a private evaluation of a specific

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