The National Association for Pupil Transportation announced that it is working with an Atlanta-based consulting firm to create a customized tool that allows student transportation leaders to assess school bus driver judgement and decision-making ability.
The School Bus Driver Safety and Risk Index is described as a “first line assessment” in hiring. NAPT calls it “the missing piece of the hiring process,” as applicants can be disqualified before school districts assume the costs of DMV checks, criminal background checks or drug screenings.
"Most school transportation service providers check a driver's police and DMV records and test for drug use, but haven't previously had a specific way to assess an intangible like good judgment that is unique to each individual," said Keith P. Henry, president of NAPT and director of transportation for Lee's Summit School District near Kansas City. "We see this as an important additional component of driver recruitment and training."
Created by The Dash Group, the tool is similar to one developed earlier this year for Cleveland City Schools in Tennessee, as the district sought solutions for new driver applicants after the fatal Chattanooga school bus crash in November. The private-public partnership in Cleveland City uses grant funds to allow the school district to use the company’s Judgement Index Safety & Risk Assessment for its pool of driver applicants.
The School Bus Driver Safety and Risk Index is available to NAPT members for $40 per employee assessment. It is not an IQ or personality test but instead an online assessment that gauges a prospective employee’s problem-solving and cognitive skills, their ability to complete tasks and follow directions, how they interact with difficult people and situations as well as their coping mechanism, and how they deal with stress.
The Dash Group said its solution is based on the Hartman Value Inventory, developed by German scientist Robert Hartman, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1973. Hartman proposed that a person’s values directly affects their behavior. His research has been validated by hundreds of other studies and has been used by organizations around the world to assess leadership.
NAPT and The Dash Group said new driver applicants should be able to complete the assessment in about 10 to 12 minutes, and student transportation managers can expect to receive results within five minutes after that.