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Course Administration

Course Administration FAQs

  1. What are the latest versions of the instructor materials for the Certification and Renewal Testing Courses? 
  2. How much flexibility does the instructor team have in scheduling a certification course? 
  3. As the lead instructor, what are my best sources of information on managing a Certification or a Renewal Testing Course?
  4. I want to offer a course with just one instructor. Is that even a possibility?
  5. An interested co-worker is curious and wants to audit a certification course. Can she just sit in or does everyone who attends the course have to be on the roster?
  6. What is the pre-course Instructor meeting? 
  7. How do I calculate instructor teaching hours? 
  8. What happens if a student can't do the actual installations due to a physical restriction? 
  9. A student doesn't show up to the checkup event and I find out from another student that there was a family emergency. As lead instructor, what are my options? 
  10. How much supervision is needed to evaluate a technician candidate’s participation at the course checkup event? 
  11. What are the options if a student fails the course? 
  12. Does our teaching team have to use the PPTs when we teach the content car side? 
  13. What is a Course Administrator? 
  14. How long should the Lead Instructor keep paperwork from a CPST Certification course, e.g. score reports and skills assessments?

1. What are the latest versions of the instructor materials for the Certification and Renewal Testing Courses?

The standardized courses were updated in March 2014 and revised in February 2015.

  • Certification Course - Manuals dated March 2014. DVD dated March 2014, REV 2/2015 
  • Renewal Testing Course- DVD dated March 2014, REV 2/2015 

Both courses are on the same DVD. Updates may be found on the CPS Board website.

The Technician Guide is available for download.

Instructors can purchase a USB with the updated curriculum using this order form.

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2. How much flexibility does the instructor team have in scheduling a certification course?  

You have ALL KINDS of flexibility when designing your course agenda! The only requirement is that there is a maximum of 10 hours per day and the course be completed in less than 6 months. Non-consecutive days may be an option if you are trying to recruit from agencies that are not able to have staff out of the office or field through consecutive days. If you do choose non-consecutive days, please consider storage for equipment and adding extra time for review to increase the ability of participants to successfully complete the course. 

Instructors have the discretion to adjust time frames on the agenda for presentations, activities, assessments, breaks, and lunch times as these are decisions based on factors such as the number of participants, classroom logistics, and weather conditions. While Instructors cannot add or delete information from the course, they can add time to modules if class size or other circumstances warrant. Instructors may adjust the sample agendas provided in the instructor curriculum on the DVD. Lead Instructors should adjust the agenda to fit their needs, however, content must be taught completely.

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3. As the lead instructor, what are my best sources of information on managing a Certification or a Renewal Testing Course? 

The Policies and Procedures Manual and Certification Course Planning and Logistics Guide (available under Resources-FAQs/Forms, and the Renewal Testing Course Instructor Manual (on your instructor CD) provide answers to most course-related questions.

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4. I want to offer a course with just one instructor. Is that even a possibility? 

All Policies and Procedures topics can be submitted for review using the Appeals form. One example of this would be to request permission to offer a course with just one instructor. The rationale for the 2-instructor requirement is to help ensure a quality course for the students. Safe Kids, NHTSA and the National CPS Board are in unanimous agreement that team teaching is beneficial for the learning experience of the students.

In our continuing effort to be more responsive to the needs of people living in, or serving, rural communities, (i.e. technician proxy) the following was developed by the CPS Board and approved by Safe Kids USA. Any Lead instructor requesting permission to provide a Certification or Certification Renewal Testing Course taught by a single Lead Instructor must submit an appeal with the following information:

  1. Written confirmation from the State CPS Training contact that they approve the LI offering a course(s) alone
  2. A brief explanation of how the LI has reached out to other instructors for assistance
  3. The name of at least one Technician Assistant who will be helping out with the course behind the scenes (no teaching)
  4. Agreement that the course will be limited to no more than 5 students
  5. The # of courses requested (no more than 3 over a one year time limit)
  6. How the LI will assist the new technicians in serving their communities once they are nationally CPS certified

As with all appeals, members of the National Child Passenger Safety Board and state CPS training contact may be consulted. Should this be the case, no identifying information will be provided to any member of the board or the CPS community.

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5. An interested co-worker is curious and wants to audit a certification course. Can she just sit in or does everyone who attends the course have to be on the roster? 

Only registered students whose names appear on the official roster may attend a Certification course. Interested bystanders are not allowed to sit in or audit a course, even if they have no desire to become certified. Courses are open only to students who have registered, paid their fee and appear on the roster. This is in accordance with the National Child Passenger Safety Board policies and procedures: The Lead Instructor is responsible for making sure the roster accurately reflects all students and instructor team, including Instructor Candidates, by the end of the first day of the course.

Allowing a non-paying attendee to participate in the class increases the student to instructor ratio and takes instructor time away from paying students.

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6. What is the pre-course Instructor meeting?

The pre-course instructor meeting is required. The Lead Instructor should have at least one conference call or meeting a couple of weeks before the course with the entire team (instructors, mentors, instructor candidates and tech course assistants) to make sure that everyone is prepared and understands their role. A full instructor meeting should take place at LEAST the day before the course and include all instructors and tech course assistants. At the meeting, the team should:

  • Confirm all instructors (including mentors and ICs) appear on the course profile
  • Go over the detailed agenda
  • Review the layout of the classroom
  • Plan/review all hands-on activities, test situations
  • Review general course administration

All members of the team should know what to expect and have a clear idea of the game plan for the entire course. All instructors on the teaching team need to be prepared to teach the whole course in case there is an emergency and they need to fill in. The team should also go over the various exam guidelines, discuss "what if" scenarios, and plan for a test reading room.

The team should help set up the room and familiarize themselves with the equipment computers, course materials and child restraints. Every person on the team should feel included and ready for the days ahead. A well-led and organized team will be ready to handle unexpected situations with flexibility and trust.

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7. How do I calculate instructor teaching hours? 

Additional detail on calculating teaching hours are available on our website

Teaching hours are automatically tracked by the system when the Lead Instructor enters the teaching hours during the course finalization process. Individual instructors are not responsible for inputting their own teaching hours.

Teaching hours are based on the number of hours of lecture and participation in hands-on skills exercises and skills testing. Just being in the classroom does not qualify for teaching hours except in the case of the Lead Instructor or Mentor as detailed in the Admin/Lead Instr: After the Course section. You do not need to round to the nearest whole hour. 

Calculation of instructor teaching hours:  

  • Example 1: You were an instructor with no lecture time, but participated in eight hours of hands-on work. You earned eight teaching hours.
  • Example 2: You were an instructor with five hours of lecture and 10 hours of hands-on work (includes 3 hours working with students at the checkup). You earned 15 teaching hours.

At the end of the course, the Lead Instructor must enter in teaching hours for each member of the instructor team. As this can be time consuming, the LI should consider calculating them after every day of class.

The LI should be very sure of their calculations before entering them into the online system. The LI might choose to verify with the team the number of hours prior to submitting them. This avoids surprises and ensures accuracy. Once they are submitted, they are applied to each CPSTI's online profile.

What counts for teaching hours?

  • Teaching a chapter
  • Co-teaching a chapter (both are active lecturers)
  • Leading a classroom exercise
  • Participating in an outside activity/skills test
  • Actual time at checkup event (while students are checking seats) - e.g. 12 noon to 3 pm

What does not count for teaching hours?

  • Back up for a colleague (following along in the book, etc.
  • Adding a comment to the teaching instructor's presentation
  • Proctoring the written tests
  • Setting up a classroom activity
  • Setting up an outside activity
  • Setting up the checkup event
  • Breaking down checkup event

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8. What happens if a student can't do the actual installations due to a physical restriction?

Should any student require assistance with the physical requirements of the course, the instructor team will accommodate the student by assigning an instructor to install seats following the student's specific instruction in each step of the selection, direction, and location process.

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 9. A student doesn't show up to the checkup event and I find out from another student that there was a family emergency. As the lead instructor, what are my options?

If the team agrees, contact the student and make arrangements for the student to complete another checkup event (of fitting station) that is scheduled within 2 weeks and supervised by a member of the instructor team. If they can't meet that requirement, of if the team chooses not to provide a later event, provide the Fee Refund Form (available under Resources-FAQs/Forms). Additional details in the Checkup Event Guidelines (available under on your instructor CD).

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10. How much supervision is needed to evaluate a technician candidate's participation at the course checkup event? 

Completing the checkup event requires the student to participate in at least a two-hour event with an instructor from the certification course roster directly observing the technician candidate.

The instructor must be able to sign off that the family was provided appropriate recommendations and the family is able to demonstrate that they are confident and competent to install their children's seat properly. This includes the whole process from introduction through selection, direction, location, and installation. The Instructor should then provide constructive feedback in this learning experience. Generally, there should be at least 1 Instructor to every 5 technician candidates.

It is not appropriate to allow the technician candidate to perform these tasks independent of direct supervision, i.e. a student works independently and then an instructor comes along to sign off that student. The seat installation may be correct but the information or how the family was educated is unknown. Once the student has become certified and is comfortable with their technical and communication skills, they will perform their responsibilities, and if possible, have a second pair of eyes check the installation and paperwork.

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11. What are the options if a student fails the course? 

When teaching a CPS Course, there are times when students fail the written exams or a skills evaluation. This situation should be handled delicately in order to preserve their privacy and avoid any possible embarrassment or ridicule for the student. The instructor team should discuss what they will do in advance of the class, at their pre-course meeting, so everyone on the instructor team is on the same page. Upon receiving a failing grade, the LI should talk with the student in private about their scores and discuss their options for the rest of the class.

There are four basic options that can be made available to the student. The student could leave immediately, stay through the next break or stay until the end of the day. This would allow them to quietly leave without feeling like they are being singled out as failing the class. When the instructor meets with the student to discuss the score and course options, ask how they would like the team to answer questions, if they choose to quietly leave the class. The student may wish to leave because of an “illness” or “family emergency.”   Do your best to work with the student to ensure a smooth transition. The fourth option is for the student to stay for the remainder of the course even though he/she will not get certified at the end.  That student could act as a scribe for the check-up event. 

Whatever the choice the student selects, grades are confidential and the team must be careful not to single them out. 

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12. Does our teaching team have to use the PPTs when we teach the content car-side? 

The instructor team is encouraged to teach as much as they can hands-on in the vehicle. For courses with a great logistical set up, lots of vehicles, and a variety of child restraints, this is definitely doable and a great way to meet the needs of many adult learners. If you are teaching a course at a site with some restrictions, such as having to go out into a parking lot that is far away, or you have only a few available vehicles (belt system types), you may need to go over the slides and then move out to the vehicles, teaching in the more conventional way.

No matter how you teach the content, you must go over the slides in the classroom. This assures that all students get the same basic information.

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13. What is a Course Administrator? 

Anyone can apply to be a Course Administrator (CA). This is someone who wants to be able to Add Courses online. The CA is, by default, whoever adds the course online. They can do anything the Lead Instructor can do except finalize the course. They also do not get emailed notifications of registration requests for controlled courses. Those go to the Lead Instructor. 

Certified Instructors are already able to add courses. This is an option for non-instructors. Check out the simple application.

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14. How long should the Lead Instructor keep paperwork from a CPST Certification course, e.g. score reports and skills assessments? 

The course finalization is the official course grading and teaching hours record but the Lead should keep the paperwork for several months in case there are any appeals, complaints or other course concerns. The maximum time to keep the paperwork would be two years, or one certification cycle. Many Leads chose to scan and save the course documentation rather than keeping the hard copies. The course record of the class could include the finalization form indicating instructor teaching hours, roster of the course with completion of scores, instructor skills log form, Candidate score sheet, Skills Assessments, Course evaluations, daily self-assessments by students, and an instructor team summary of the course. The summary of the course could include any issues or concerns that occurred during the course and how they were corrected or resolved.

Checklists, as legal documents, should be kept for three years. At Safe Kids, we scan the checklists and keep them stored digitally ad infinitum.