The FAA has recently updated the guidance that it uses when conducting oversight of DPEs.
Specifically updated were
We strongly encourage examiners to review and be familiar with the contents of these chapters as you work to make sure you adhere to all FAA procedures that examiners must follow.
The FAA continues to conduct field inspections, the SEED inspection program, that are beyond the standard oversight that local FSDOs have traditionally conducted. There are triggers that examiners should be aware of that may result in one of these inspections taking place. Review of the chapter above will detail some of these triggers. It is critical for examiners to have accurate record keeping to be able to document all areas of detail that these inspections may inquire about with the examiner.
The adjustments to the Inspect a Designated Pilot Examiner section focus on when additional oversight is required for a high-activity examiner or for other key triggers such as an examiner who has conducted more than two practical test events (or more than 1 initial flight instructor practical test) in a single day, high pass rates, testing a student trained by the examiner, an error return rate of greater than 10%, an examiner who is subject of a valid public complaint or has been involved in an accident, incident, or violation.
The biggest change is that an inspector is now required to “observe a DPE conducting a complete practical test of an applicant. This includes observation of the complete ground portion and the complete flight portion of the test.” The addition of the word “complete” seems to indicate that this must result in a passed practical test, because if an applicant was issued a notice of disapproval prior to completion of all required PTS (or soon ACS) maneuvers for the test, a “complete” test would not have been conducted that they have overseen.
Historically, some application of “oversight” was allowed to be completed by overseeing an oral portion of a test, if at least once a year a full test was overseen. Additionally, historically, if the overseen practical test continued to the flight portion, any portion of the flight portion that was conducted was sufficient if the test resulted in a notice of disapproval. It is likely that this will not be the case under the current FAA Order language. Practically, this means that if an overseen practical test is issued a notice of disapproval on the oral portion of the test prior to flight or at any point on the flight portion prior to completion of all required maneuvers, the overseen test will not be able to be counted for the inspector conducting the overseen activity and another attempt will need to be made with the same or another applicant.
If you have not reviewed the current 8900.1 documents this would be a good time to do so and make sure your procedures as a DPE meet all the current requirements in additional consideration of the recent updates to the material.