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Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:35 PM

Did you ever take a course where they graded on a curve?

I think the nuclear industry is on to something here. We can do a lot to fix the problem with health care costs if we make the qualifying tests easier and get more doctors out the door.

Turnover, flawed exams led to Plant Vogtle reactor licensee failures
By Rob Pavey
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 5:54 PM

The loss of experienced training staff and poorly prepared licensing tests contributed to an unusually high failure rate last year among Plant Vogtle’s 2011 class of reactor operators, according to company officials.
“We see this as an isolated case,” said Tom Tynan, Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle vice president, who briefed U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staffers on the situation during a Wednesday meeting in Atlanta.
Ten new operators were tested last April, but only three passed and received licenses, according to NRC records. The candidates had undergone two years of training to operate the plant’s existing Units 1 and 2.
Tynan said Southern Nuclear’s root cause investigation identified turnover among the most experienced exam development professionals as a leading cause.
“Management underestimated ...


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Reply Did you ever take a course where they graded on a curve? (Original post)
kristopher Apr 2012 OP
HereSince1628 Apr 2012 #1
FBaggins Apr 2012 #2

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 12:49 PM

1. Doesn't sound like grading on the curve problem. Sounds more bad Clifft's notes

Grading on the curve would simply move the curve and leave similar proportions passing and failing.

The cut-out of the story says the root cause is new people writing the tests. Suggests to me that what was once known to be 'good enough' isn't anymore.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 11, 2012, 01:40 PM

2. Not really. Kris' example makes his point.

It's a lousy point of course... but not for that reason.

He isn't saying that it was graded on a curve, he's implying that the company is whining that it should be graded on a curve. The constant lament of the sub-standard student. Of course this isn't true - since they failed the students involved and they have to wait until the next year to pass a new test.

The meat of the story doesn't give us enough to go on. Intructor turnover could mean insufficient training... but psycometrician turnover implies poor testing. Did the individuals not learn what they objectively should know in order to perform the job, or did the test not accurately assess whether or not they did?

The part I find most interesting is that the plants apparently write their own tests. I don't mean that as an accountability issue since the NRC has to review them... but even though each plant is to some extent unique, it's also true that there are many ways that they are the same. I would have assumed that the NRC would write the tests and there would be a section that was unique to a given unit/plant.

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