The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) was established in 2010 to lead the national reform agenda in promoting excellence in the profession of teaching, including ITE, and in school leadership.
In 2015, a Ministerial review of initial teacher education (TEMAG report) identified five areas for urgent reform to improve the quality of initial teacher education (ITE) in Australia:
National selection guidelines recommending use of both academic and non-academic criteria were implemented from 2017. The guideline also encourages use of evidence-based and transparent selection methods amongst the 48 providers and 388 initial teacher education programmes in Australia.
Endorsed by state education ministers in 2010, the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers provide descriptors of four career stages for teachers – Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead –, each representing increasing levels of knowledge, practice and professional engagement for teachers, in line with the Australian curriculum standards. Descriptors are intended to provide benchmarks that recognise the professional growth of teachers throughout their careers.
In 2015, all education ministers agreed to new accreditation standards for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes. ITE providers must supply evidence about how ITE programmes meet 6 accreditation standards :
All Australian education ministers agreed that from 1 July 2016 all initial teacher education students would be required to sit and meet the standard of the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students (the test) prior to graduation. Administered using an online assessment tool, the tests were designed to measure personal literacy and numeracy, with the test benchmark broadly equivalent to the top 30 per cent of the Australian adult population. While the requirement is national it has been implemented slightly differently in some jurisdictions. One jurisdiction requires all teaching students to meet the test standard in order to undertake the first practicum, and other jurisdictions require the test standard to be met to be registered and/ or employed as a teacher. Teacher graduates are given three attempts to pass the test, with up to two additional attempts allowed in exceptional circumstances.
Teaching Performance Assessments (TPAs) are currently in development to provide a robust assessment of graduate teachers’ readiness. Two TPAs have been developed with seed funding from the Australian Government – one consortia led by the University of Melbourne and the other by Learning Sciences Institute (LSI) Australia – for students in their final year of teaching. The assessments will require pre-service teachers to demonstrate their competence in planning, teaching, assessing and reflecting on the impact of their teaching on student learning; and show how they use evidence of student learning during their final-year professional practice.
The Australian Teacher Workforce Data Strategy, which is still under development, will unite teacher workforce data and other data collected as part of ITE accreditation – for example Australian Graduate Destination Survey collects information about employment outcomes from graduates of undergraduate programmes four months after graduation – to chart the course of the teacher workforce from education to employment. It provides information on:
There is a two-stage process for teachers to attain full registration in Australia:
1) To obtain provisional registration – and “Graduate” level of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (Teacher Standards) – teachers must have graduated from a recognised and accredited teacher education programme and be deemed suitable to work with children based on an assessment of character and criminal history. In some cases a demonstration of English language proficiency is required.
2) To be fully registered, teachers are required to show evidence that they have attained the “Proficient” level of the Teacher Standards, which normally requires showing a portfolio of evidence to the school principal, a school-based panel of reviewers or Teacher Regulatory Authority, following guidelines provided by the regulatory authority. This portfolio should include performance data, student work, curriculum, planning and assessment documents, observations, professional conversations or collaborations with colleagues, student/parent feedback and reflections on practice. Minimum numbers of teaching and professional learning days are also stipulated by each state and territory.