Pearson to computerise NI driving theory tests

10 Nov 2003

International media and education company Pearson VUE has been awarded a seven-year contract with the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (DVTA) of Northern Ireland (NI) to implement computerised theory testing at centres across the North.

Under the contract, which was awarded also to the UK’s Driving Standards Agency, Pearson’s VUE professional testing business will administer and process the results of the driving theory section of the driving license examination, beginning in September 2004.

Candidates will take the computerised theory tests at more than 150 examination centres throughout England, Scotland, Wales and NI.

Over 1.6 million theory tests are taken in the UK each year. Since 1996, new learner drivers have had to pass the driving theory test, which covers all aspects of driving theory relating to road safety and driver attitude, before booking their practical test.

In January 2000 the pen and paper test was replaced by a multimedia computerised test. Since November 2002 the test has included a hazard perception section, with a selection of film clips showing real road scenes and potential hazards.

Minnesota-based Pearson VUE is the electronic testing business of Pearson, whose primary operations also include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

Bob Whelan, vice-president and general manager of Pearson VUE, said: “DSA and DVTA are pioneers in computer-based testing. We are honoured to be entrusted with this contract and thrilled that they have recognised our investments and skills in online assessment.”

By John Kennedy