The Commercial Vehicle Training Association’s Members are committed to providing training programs that earn and maintain public confidence adhering to sound and ethical business practices. In order to remain in good standing, member schools must comply with this “Code of Conduct” and other policies established by the Association.
The Association recognizes that member schools engage in direct marketing, and thereby assume certain responsibilities towards potential students, other member schools, employers, and the community at large.
The Association hereby sets forth the basic fair and ethical principles and practices to which member schools will adhere in the conduct of their business.
- Schools will ensure that educational and business practices are in observance of federal and state laws, regulations, and accrediting standards, if accredited.
- No school shall engage in any deceptive or unlawful consumer practice.
- Schools will provide adequate financial resources to support quality program delivery.
- Schools will participate by providing basic information to the Association to aid in promotion, improvement and development of the industry, training, and the Association, such as the Annual Member Survey.
- Schools will not deny admission on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, or national origin.
- The school is solely responsible for all known advertising and promotions. If a third party admissions representative or inquiry generation firms used, it is the school’s responsibility to direct and control the content and/or location of any and all verbal, print or electronic communications made by the third party.
- Schools will provide a training program for employed admissions representatives and will ensure that they are properly licensed or registered (if required).
- School personnel will not discredit other schools by making false or misleading representations concerning the character, nature, quality, value scope of their courses of instruction or inability to perform contracts.
- School personnel will not knowingly influence any student to leave another educational institution, nor encourage any person to change plans after signing an enrollment application and paying the regular fee of another school. The terms of any cash discounts or scholarship assistance must be available to all qualified students equally, and must be disclosed prior to enrollment.
- Students enrolling in a school through the use of tuition finance programs shall be charged the same tuition for a program of instruction, and shall receive written notice regarding the terms for partial course completion and disclosure of program costs and fees. If a student is not approved for financing prior to the commencement of training, he or she must be advised in writing that failure to obtain financing may result in dismissal.
- Schools will have an equitable and prompt refund and cancellation policy, which is consistent with regulatory and/or accrediting standards.
INSTRUCTORS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES
- School instructors will possess good character and a professional attitude.
- Instructors will be given structured training prior to training others. Instructors will be licensed/certified where required.
- Schools will provide instructors and staff with professional development opportunities, such as the CVTA Instructor Certification Program, that are adequate to maintain their professional knowledge and skills.
- Student/Instructor ratios should be maintained at the following levels four students to one instructor for over-the-road, in-cab training: and twelve students to one instructor for field or yard training.
- It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that applicants are reasonably qualified to enter their training program.
- As a requirement for acceptance to a school, the prospective student should have the valid/applicable state drivers’ license and permit (if required) for entrance to training. The prospective student should not have his/her driving privilege suspended in any state.
Prospective students should demonstrate physical qualifications by being able to pass a DOT physical examination and drug screen and be in compliance with FMCSA requirements.
- Tuition should be refunded to the student if he is unable to pass the DOT physical examination, provided the disqualifying condition existed prior to enrollment.
- Schools will ensure that prospective students are fully and accurately informed about the nature of the specific training experience provided.
Schools will disclose in writing to prospective students the Federal DOT Requirements such as:
- Minimum age
- Acceptable vision
- Acceptable hearing
- Physical condition
- Driving record
- Drug abuse policy
- Criminal background check for hazardous materials certificate
- Prospective students will be made aware of the student’s obligations regarding transportation to the school, room and meal arrangements, and other requirements necessary for on-site school or distance education training attendance.
- Schools will provide prospective students with clear explanation of the tuition and financing requirements, various job entry and licensing requirements, without any overt or implied claim or guarantee of employment made at any time.
COURSE OF INSTRUCTION
- Training should enable the student to learn the skills required to drive a tractor-trailer or other vehicle, and to apply these skills to specific driving situations.
- School instruction will conform to laws and regulations of each of the states in which it operates.
- Schools will maintain a written copy of DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and provide students with access to it if requested.
- Schools will provide driving experience over a variety of road types, traffic conditions, and driving situations.
- Schools will provide and be able to document that each student has received training as advertised in the school’s promotional literature. Students enrolled in combined distance learning/residence schools that successfully complete the correspondence distance learning sequence of the course within the proscribed time limits should be afforded the opportunity to begin on-site resident training within 60 days of the completion of the correspondence distance learning segment.
- Schools will provide for each graduate to be tested for a commercial license, where required, in the state in which the student resides at the time of enrollment, or, at the student’s option, in the state in which he/she trained, if permitted by law, including, where required or necessary, a tractor trailer testing specialist, instructor, or sponsor.
- Schools must have a written policy that is available to students, regarding retraining and retesting.
- All members shall offer a course of instruction of not less than 160 hours, including 40 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction (defined as behind the wheel control of the vehicle, by the student moving forward or backwards, either on the range or on the road). This requirement shall be measured in academic hours of fifty (50) minutes each. Schools utilizing any form of distance education to satisfy a portion of this requirement shall fully comply with the CVTA Guidelines on Distance Education set forth in Attachment 1 to this Code of Conduct.
- As an alternative to number 8 above, a member school may utilize the performance test created by the Commercial Driver Training Foundation, Inc. in lieu of measuring student progress by counting hours. If this alternative is chosen, the school must comply with the procedures set forth in the Procedures for Administration of Performance Testing (Attachment 2 to this Code of Conduct.)
- Graduates of the school training program must demonstrate understanding of the basic operation of the tractor-trailer so that they may function properly as an entry-level driver in the trucking industry.
- The graduate must be able to demonstrate safe motor vehicle control and procedure skills for the tractor-trailer under situations normally encountered in the trucking industry, so that he/she can successfully attain a basic commercial driver’s license as required by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.
- The graduate must be familiar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including hours of service and maintenance of logs, so that he/she will be able to comply with these regulations as an entry-level commercial driver graduates must demonstrate that they meet federal, state, and local standards for entry-level employment in the trucking industry.
- All member schools must provide adequate instruction to students in all subject areas required by 49 CFR 380, et seq.
- Without guarantee of employment, schools will provide students with resources and assistance in job placement.
- The extent and nature of placement services provided are as claimed by the school’s promotional literature
- All member schools must instruct students in the subject areas required by 49 CFR 380, et seq.
- If the applicant school has been in operation for a period of less than one year, the school must demonstrate that graduates of the training program are employable by documenting placement outcomes.
Modern distance education has been around at least since Isaac Pitman taught shorthand in Great Britain via correspondence in the 1840s. Since the development of the postal service in the 19th century, commercial correspondence colleges provided distance education to students across the country. Computers and the Internet have only made distance learning easier, just as it has for many other day-to-day tasks.
There are many private and public, non-profit and for-profit institutions offering courses and programs through distance education. Levels of official recognition vary; some institutions offering distance education in the U.S. have received little outside oversight, and some may only be diploma mills. In many other jurisdictions, an institution may not use distance education as a method of course delivery without accreditation and authorization, normally by the state government.
In the twenty-first century, evolving technology will further distance education as the preferable method of learning.
In Distance Education, students may or may not be required to be present in a classroom, as in an electronic classroom or virtual learning environment, which may or may not be a part of a distance education set up. Electronic classrooms can be both on campus, and off campus.
Distance Education may also use all forms of technology, from print to the computer. This range will include radio, television, audio video conferencing, computer aided instruction, e-learning/on-line learning, etc (E-learning/online-learning are largely synonymous). A distinction is also made between open learning and distance learning. To clarify our thinking, 'open' education is the system in which the student is free to choose the time and place, but distance education is a teaching methodology used when the student and teacher are separated by time and place. Thus not all open-learning programs use distance education and not all programs that use distance education are open learning programs. There are many cases in which students are in traditional classrooms, connected via a video-conferencing link to a teacher in a distant classroom, i.e. a geographically dispersed program. Conversely, the term virtual learning environment is used to describe an open-learning program that uses the Internet to create an imaginary learning environment, in which the students, faculty, and staff can communicate and share information at any time, regardless of location.
Distance Education has traversed four to five 'generations' of technology in its history. These are print, audio/video broadcasting, audio/video teleconferencing, computer aided instruction, e-learning/ online-learning, computer broadcasting/webcasting etc. The increasing popularity of the iPod, PDAs and Smart Phone has provided an additional medium for the distribution of distance education content.
Some educational institutions are integrating distance and on-campus instruction in their courses. Some courses allow distance students to watch on-campus class meetings live via online streaming video, and display real-time comments from distance students on an online chat board displayed during the lecture, making it possible for real-time discussion between on and off-campus students.
In short then, though a range of technology supports a distance education 'inventory', it is technological appropriateness and connectivity, such as computers, that should be considered, when we think of the emerging world of distance education.
Older models of distance education utilized regular mail to send written material, videos, audiotapes, and CD-ROMs or other media storage format to the student and to turn in the exercises. Today's distance education course makes use of E-mail, the Web, and video conferencing over broadband network connections for both wired physical locations and wireless mobile learning. In some instances, the material is supplemented by television and radio programming. To compete with the conventional sector, course material must be of very high quality and completeness, and should use modern technologies such as educational animation.
Some schools use a hybrid delivery model, where the course curriculum is delivered via CD-ROM and DVD and all other support resources are provided on-line in a real-time environment. This approach provides students with instant access to tutorial support, advising, on-line exams, etc., while utilizing the high storage capacity and quick access provided by portable multimedia storage devices such as CD-ROMs and DVDs.
Full time or part-time study is possible. Distance education is offered at all levels, but is most frequently a method of post-secondary level studies. A form of educational program which is similar to this but which requires some amount of presence during the program is a low-residency program.
Testing and evaluation
Distance education has had trouble since its conception with the testing of material. The delivery is fairly straightforward, which makes sure it is available to the student and he or she can read it at their leisure. The problem arises when the student is required to complete assignments and testing. Whether quizzes, tests, or examinations; online courses have had difficulty controlling cheating because of the lack of instructor control. In a classroom situation, the instructor can monitor students and visually uphold a level of integrity consistent with the institutions reputation. With distance education the student will normally be removed from supervision completely. Some schools address integrity issues concerning testing by requiring students to take examinations in a proctored setting.
Assignments have adapted by becoming larger, longer, and more thorough so as to test for knowledge by forcing the student to research the subject and prove they have done the work. Quizzes are a popular form of testing knowledge and many courses go by the honor system regarding cheating. Even if the student is checking questions in the textbook or online, there may be an enforced time limit or the quiz may be worth so little in the overall mark that it becomes inconsequential. Exams and bigger tests are harder to regulate. In smaller tests the instructor may employ another computer program to keep all other programs from running on the computer reducing the possibility of help from the Internet.
The above measures, used in combination with a pre-arranged supervisor entrusted with over-looking big tests and examinations can be used to increase security. Final examinations can be held at a common location so that the instructor can supervise directly. Many of these examinations are still on the computer, in which case the same program blocking software can be used. When the Internet became a popular medium for distance education, many websites started offering secure exam software and packages to help instructors manage their students more effectively.
Recommendation to the Board
CVTA should recognize programs that are offered in part by means of distance education.
The following statements are being recommended as additions to the Code of Conduct allowing members to offer programs that are delivered in part via distance education.
- Definition of Distance Education – A formal process in which instruction within a program or course occurs when the student and instructor are not in the same location. Distance Education employs telecommunication or other technologies for the delivery of instruction, and may be synchronous or asynchronous in nature.
- Distance education cannot make up more than 50% of the total program curriculum.
- Subject matter or courses must be appropriate for delivery through distance education methods and facilitate delivery of course content.
- Programs offered in part via distance education are in observance of state law/regulations/standards.
- The school’s catalog and other publications clearly describe courses or portions of programs provided by way of distance-learning, including the delivery system used, the prerequisites for participation, expected learning outcomes, completion requirements, student services, and any other requirements.
- Schools will have an equitable and prompt refund and cancellation policy that specifically addresses the distance education segment of the program, which is consistent with regulatory and/or accrediting standards, if applicable.
- Instructor(s) in charge of the distance education course or segment of the program will be qualified to teach using distance education methods and licensed/certified where appropriate.
Schools must assure all distance education programs provide timely and meaningful interaction among instructors and students.
- As a requirement for acceptance to a school, the prospective student should have the valid/applicable state drivers’ license and permit (if required) for entrance to resident training. The prospective student should not have his/her driving privilege suspended in any state. (This item is already included in the current Code of Conduct)
- Prospective students should demonstrate physical qualifications by passing a DOT physical examination and pre-employment drug screen. (This item is already included in the current Code of Conduct)
- It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that applicants who attend either the distance and/or residential portions of the training program are reasonably qualified to enter their training program.
- Schools must ensure that adequate monitoring of student progress is in place.
- Students enrolled in combined home study distance learning/residence schools that successfully complete the correspondence distance learning sequence of the course within the prescribed time limits should be afforded the opportunity to begin on-site residents training within 60 days of the completion of the correspondence distance learning segment. (This item is already included in the current Code of Conduct.)
- Schools will provide for each graduate to be tested for a commercial license, where required, in the state in which the student resides at the time of enrollment, or, at the student’s option, in the state in which he/she trained, if permitted by law, including, where required or necessary, a tractor trailer testing specialist, instructor, or sponsor. (This item is already included in the current Code of Conduct.)
- No school shall offer distance education for the behind-the-wheel portion of the program.
- Schools will ensure that the content and length of a distance education program or course of study are comparable to residential programs.
- Schools must ensure system reliability and emergency backup for its technical services.
This policy was adopted by vote of the membership of CVTA its Spring Conference 2009 in Phoenix, AZ
The policy will be presented to the membership of CVTA for adoption as part of this CODE OF CONDUCT FOR TRACTOR-TRAILER DRIVER TRAINING ORGANIZATIONS Upon completion.