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Quasar

What?

QUASAR (Questionnaire for ATSEP Standard Assessment Routines) initiative is an inter-FAB cooperation on ATSEP assessment harmonisation with ambitions to become European quasi-standard.

It's formal status is coming from FAB CE HR SuC activities and FABEC Training Task Force.
It became an internationally recognized group of experts on ATSEP training and an outstanding example of both intra- and inter- FAB cooperation. QUASAR members also participate in other international projects including EASA RMT.0719 (update of regulation (EU) 2017/373 and associated AMC/GM).  

ANS CR / CANI is a core founding member of QUASAR.

Why?

Harmonisation of ATSEP training in Europe is based on common training requirements laid down in the following documents:

  • Eurocontrol ATSEP CCC Initial Training [SPEC-132],
  • EU Regulation 2017/373 + EASA AMC/GM (under review of EASA RMT.0719).

Similar provisions are also available on global level:

  • ICAO Doc. 10057 [Manual on ATSEP Competency-based Training and Assessment],
  • ICAO Doc. 7192 Part E-2 [ATSEP Training Manual],
  • ICAO Doc. 9868 [Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Training].

Even though there are common training requirements, so the training objectives are the same, the training process in different organisations may be different (use of different training material, course duration, teaching techniques, different local environment, organisational structure, culture, etc.

However, due to common training requirements, the training output shall be the same (meaning competent ATSEP on comparable level]) and a competence assessment shall be done*.
* ATSEP.OR.305 Assessment of initial and ongoing competence 
A service provider employing ATSEP shall: 
(a) establish, implement and document processes for: 
     (1) assessing the initial and ongoing competence of ATSEP; 
     (2) addressing a failure or degradation of ATSEP competence, including an appeal process; 
     (3) ensuring the supervision of personnel who have not been assessed as competent;
(b) define the following criteria against which initial and ongoing competence shall be assessed: 
     (1) technical skills; (2) behavioural skills; (3) knowledge.

How?

One way of ATSEP training harmonisation would be development and use of common training material, but this is basically not possible for various reasons (different training organisations, intellectual property rights, etc.).

The solution introduced by QUASAR initiative is a common assessment, including common final test (question database) and common standardised rules (Terms of Use).
This is presented as QUASAR Examination.

It has European-wide scope and it can also serve as a tool for independent evaluation of training.

QUASAR Examination

The main part of QUASAR Examination is common database of final test questions.

The test questions follow the following rules:

  • Direct mapping to the defined training objectives
  • Each objective covered by multiple questions
  • Question complexity relates to taxonomy level
  • Simple, understandable, unambiguous and consistent language (English)
  • Using multiple choice questions (single or multiple correct answers)

QUASAR Examination covers all parts of ATSEP Initial Training (Basic Training, Qualification - Shared and all Qualification Training domains: COM, NAV, SUR, DPR, SMC).

Just a few objectives are not covered, mainly due to their relation to local specific environment and organisational structure, practical aspects or objectives not appropriate for the question types used.

A total of 1865 questions covering all initial training parts were released.

Together with the large database of final test questions, common standardised rules were developed. These Terms of Use describe mong others the following:

  • How to generate and evaluate tests
  • Defined standard pass mark (75 %)
  • Rules for organising assessments
  • Rules on quality monitoring (feedback) and maintenance
  • Rules for handling of QUASAR material (confidentiality, copyright)

Development process

The whole work was characterised by a complex development, review and approval process with the following parts:
- Collection of currently used material from participating organisations,
- Review of questions and creation of new ones to cover all training objectives,
- Series of reviews including pilot runs, validation and feedback,
     - Release (common approval in QTF),
     - Expert review (experts in participating organisations),
     - Final approval (implementation of gathered comments).

Around 100 experts participated in the process.

The group worked with working environment with interactive Access database (created by Austro Control and hosted by LPS SR) in regular 2-3 day meetings every 2 months since 2014.
Offline work ("Homeworks"), distribution of tasks and use of SMEs was a consistent part of work as well.

All together, we gathered 2677 questions (most of them already used for assessment in member organisations) of which 1865 approved. About 30 % of gathered questions were dropped out due to not meeting high quality requirements.

Who?

QUASAR Task Force (QTF) includes the following member organisations:
- FAB CE (since 2013)
     - ANS CR
     - Austro Control
     - BHANSA
     - Croatia Control
     - Hungarocontrol
     - LPS SR
     - Slovenia Control
- FABEC (since 2015)
     - DFS
     - Skyguide
     - ENAC/DSNA
     - with mandate from other FABEC members (ANA Luxembourg, Belgocontrol, LVNL, MUAC)
- NATS (since 2015)
- AVINOR (since 2017)

Not all of the 12 core member organisations participated all the time, however there were different ways of contribution and all member organisations were involved, e.g.:

  • provision of questions already in use, 
  • creation of new questions,
  • review,
  • hosting of meeting,
  • quality of contribution.

Next steps

QUASAR initiative is now ready for continuous use of QUASAR Examination and its provision also to 3rd parties.

The QUASAR material will be continuously maintained by keeping the database up to date, gathering and incorporating feedback and providing updates of Terms of Use.

Several validation runs were performed since 2016 and the QUASAR examination is already in use since 2017 in member organisations with very good feedback on quality and usability.

Provision of QUASAR Examination to external clients

QUASAR Examination is available to 3rd parties through QTF members.

There is a common administrative fee of 95 EUR per student for conducting QUASAR Examination (applicable only if not combined with training provision).

The QUASAR material remains confidential under supervision of QTF and a non-disclosure agreement is mandatory to provide the examination to 3rd parties.

QUASAR examination is available in both electronic and paper-form. It can be provided on-site or remotely.

The details about the provision of QUASAR Examination are provided in Terms of Use (current version .

ANS CR / CANI has fully implemented all parts of QUASAR Examination in the LMS according to Terms of Use. This implementation also provides the following features:

  • allows detailed analysis of student's performance,
  • detailed test protocols for documentation and archival,
  • provides group's results for different parts / subjects,
  • evaluation of training (training gap analysis),
  • available online.

Contacts

For more information about QUASAR Initiative and the provision of QUASAR Examination, you can contact:

Petr DvořákANS CR / CANIdvorakp@ans.cz
Robert HorakAustro Controlrobert.horak@austrocontrol.at 
Thorsten BrikeyDFS Academythorsten.brikey@dfs.de
Chris CoxNATSchris.cox@nats.co.uk

 

 

 

 

or any other QTF member (see Terms of Use).

Documents

Terms of Use
QUASAR presentation (WATMC 2020)