New test teachers must pass to make the grade
TRAINEE teachers across Queensland are being forced to prove they can plan lessons, communicate effectively and measure student learning, or risk not graduating, under a rigorous new test being rolled out this year.
All Queensland universities, apart from QUT, have begun introducing the new Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment, which provides a consistent measure, across institutions, of whether university students are classroom ready and fit to teach.
Experts predict the test will be so effective in lifting teacher standards and weeding out university students who are not ready to begin careers in the classroom, that it will end the debate around ATAR and OP cut-offs for teaching degrees.
The new assessment was developed by the Australian Catholic University's Institute for Learning Sciences under the leadership of Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, in collaboration with 15 other universities across the country, as a part of an industry-based push to lift the standard of early career teachers.
"What is measured is the students' ability to teach the curriculum - the lesson planning, the teaching, the assessing of students learning and the critical use of data for informing teaching," Professor Wyatt-Smith said.
"It will mean the discussion about ATAR cut-offs should stop, for the first time we have a chance at transparency here, transparency in professional competence levels in teaching, and with a consistency of expectations across the board," she said.
The Queensland College of Teachers is supporting the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment and has worked with Professor Wyatt-Smith's team to help set the standards.
"We think the GTPA will actually help build both the public and the teaching professions confidence in the quality of graduates," QCT director John Ryan said.
"We suspect there will be a percentage of initial teacher education students that will have to repeat the GTPA, and that happens in other professions, if they don't meet the benchmarks they have to do it again," he said.
Abbey Morgan who is in her final year of a teaching degree with ACU in Brisbane has recently completed the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment with flying colours.
"I had to plan a unit of work, I was then responsible for doing the formative assessment of that unit, the children's learning was in my hands so I had to ensure there was a clear end goal and learning was purposeful," she said.
Ms Morgan said completing the assessment with top marks has given her confidence knowing her classroom practice is on the right track.