The following article is adapted from the program manual. Please read then answer the questions at the end.
Use of a Conditional Pass
A conditional pass is a tool that instructors can use for a student who is close to passing the certification but still needs time to work on skills or gain experience. Rather than assigning a fail, the instructor can encourage the student by assigning one or two clear conditions that must be met before a reassessment.
Instructors and instructor-trainers (ITs) must acknowledge that awarding a conditional pass places additional burdens on the student and the assessor that can prove onerous over time and result in frustration for everyone involved so please consider the use of conditional passes carefully.
Instructors and ITs are not obliged to consider awarding a conditional pass; it is at their discretion. Any candidate considered for a conditional pass can also be failed, since they do not meet the benchmark for the award.
When to use a conditional pass
Due to the introductory nature of the Waterfront and Basic level skills programs, conditional passes are not intended for those levels. Generally speaking, conditional passes can be used for most skills courses above basic, and for all instructor courses but please refer to your disciplines program manual for more specific information.
While conditional passes can be an excellent tool for instructors, it is unethical to assign a conditional pass as a way to avoid telling a candidate they do not meet the minimum standard for the certification. It is also extremely unethical to assign conditions that you know the student will unlikely never complete.
Conditional passes can be awarded by instructors and instructor-trainers in a number of circumstances including, but not limited to a student who:
- is weak in 1–2 areas of assessment — If a student is weak in 3 or more areas of assessment, then they should fail the award.
- meets the assessment standards but does not possess the prerequisites for the course (age, external certification, logged experience).
- does not complete the program due to environmental conditions above the limits set by the award.
- does not complete the program due to medical or personal crisis unrelated to the assessment.
Please note that just because a candidate completes the conditions assigned does not automatically mean that certification is granted. They must be able to demonstrate the minimum level of proficiency for the award skill during retesting.
After the retest, the instructor or instructor-trainer has at least three options:
- Fail the candidate based on their performance during retesting.
- Assign additional conditions based on their performance during the retesting.
- Pass the candidate.
How to use a conditional pass
It is critical that all conditions applied to the conditional pass be tangible and with a clear end so the student knows when they have met the condition(s) and are ready to be reassessed by an instructor.
Examples of conditional passes:
- “You need more experience to be comfortable sea kayaking in rough water. Log 5 sessions in Level-2 conditions with a paddling partner.”
- “Practice your canoe rescue and ensure it can be completed consistently in less than 4 minutes, including getting the paddler and their gear onboard. Send me a video so I can evaluate your performance.”
- “Your pivot turn is very close but you need to work on balance. Go practice, remembering to get the paddleboard on edge, until it’s perfect. Then come back and show me.”
It’s critical that all conditional passes must be documented in writing, clearly stating all conditions and date of expiry. A copy must be given to the student as well as the course director. All conditions must also be clearly documented to Paddle Canada when reporting the course. This last one is especially important as it isn’t uncommon for the student to call the Paddle Canada office to inquire about their conditional pass and the office stuff need as much information as possible to help the member.
Limits and restrictions
As mentioned earlier, conditional passes are not appropriate for introductory skill levels which include the Waterfront and Basic levels. Your discipline program manual will have more specific information on limits.
The instructor can delegate the retest to another instructor of equal or higher certification. Paddle Canada and the student must be made aware of, and agree to, this delegation of responsibility.
The original instructor is responsible for maintaining and completing all documentation related to the original test and the retest.
The expiry date for any condition is a maximum of one calendar year from the last day of the course, as registered with Paddle Canada. Failure to complete the conditions within the time allowed will automatically result in a fail for the candidate.
Conditional passes cannot be awarded where the candidate’s weakness is in an affective outcome (judgment, ethics, self-care, etc.) as it is difficult or impossible to assign a condition to re-evaluate those outcomes. If a candidate is weak in one or more affective outcomes, they should fail the award.
Fees related to a conditional pass
The instructor is responsible for making him or herself available for any retesting.
While the instructor may charge for reasonable expenses including travel, accommodation, administrative fees and/or for their time, the candidate must be made aware of these charges well before the start of the retest.