management and maneuvering ships in restricted waters. Every course topic is required to be at the master level. Student performance on examinations will be tracked through check-off lists during training and testing.
Training and testing will be conducted separately. The first week is devoted to training, which will address the subjects to be examined on the simulator. Students must also be prepared to take written examinations on topics that are not going to be examined, using the simulator as the evaluation platform. The second week is devoted to testing for all elements of the license examination. The instructors involved in training during the first week are precluded from serving as evaluators the second week. The USCG's stipulations do not preclude instructors from being involved in role playing.
The testing will include practical demonstrations for communications, chart work, bridge resource management, and situational awareness. Ship-bridge simulation will be used only for those elements of the testing for which it is suited (e.g., bridge resource management, rules of the road, shiphandling). A generic port is used for the simulations. Written tests will continue to be used for most other elements of the examination, including ship's business, and will be drawn from the existing pool of USCG-maintained, multiple-choice license examination questions.
The scoring of performance demonstrations will be done on a pass-fail basis and measured against specific, weighed criteria. This approach was adopted to remove subjective judgment as much as practicable from the assessment component of the course. The determination will rely on the professional expertise of the evaluators. The USCG has not established specific criteria for use as assessment benchmarks. The agency believes that course materials and any criteria developed and used by SIMSHIP Corporation are prorietary, even though the course is approved as a replacement for an official licensing examination.
On successful completion of the course, license candidates will be issued a certificate that can be presented to the responsible USCG licensing official. An individual who does not pass the training and testing course has the option of (1) retaking the course or (2) taking the USCG's standard multiple-choice examination. If retaking the course, the candidate would have to return at a later date. The length of time would vary, depending on the degree to which the individual's participation fell short of performance expectations. Under current criteria, the maximum number of times an individual may take the course is two. During the course, a participant can fail and retake one of the modules. Any trainee failing two of the modules is "washed out" of the course. Individuals who do not successfully complete the course can choose to take the written USCG examination without any time delay. In this situation, the USCG would view the course as nonrequired training.