1. National guidelines and legislation on ITP

Australian Council of Educational Research (2016), Country Background Report. OECD Initial Teacher Preparation Study. Australia, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

This is a self-evaluation report providing background information for the team of experts visiting Australia as part of the OECD Initial Teacher Preparation study. It outlines issues and challenges along the six stages of the OECD Teacher Education pathway: attracting candidates into initial teacher education (ITE), selection into ITE programmes, what teacher candidates need to know and do, ensuring quality delivery of ITE programmes, teacher certification and hiring, and support for new teachers.

Attracting the most suitable candidates into ITE programmes

Australian Government (2014), National Teaching Workforce Dataset Data Analysis Report 2014, Australian Government, Canberra.

This report is one of three that represent the culmination of three years of effort to develop an initial National Teaching Workforce Dataset (NTWD). The NTWD was designed to provide understanding and insight into school teachers across Australia, with data collected from 440 313 members of the teaching workforce across the country in public schools and some from the Catholic school sector from all regulators in Australia. The first section of the report presents analysis of 45 data items. The second part of the report focuses on six areas that are of higher value in understanding the teaching workforce: teacher age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) status, principals, teachers in low SES schools, teacher qualifications and registered teachers that are not employed.

Link

Deakin University (2014), Longitudinal Teacher Education and Workforce Study (LTEWS) Final Report, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

This report summarises the findings of the Longitudinal Teacher Education Workforce Study (LTEWS), which investigated the career progression of graduate teachers from initial teacher education into teaching employment in all states and territories across Australia in 2012 and the first half of 2013, and tracked their perceptions, over time, of the relevance and effectiveness of their initial teacher education programmes. The study utilised quantitative and qualitative data collection methods including three rounds of Graduate Teacher Surveys and Principal Surveys and interviews with graduate teachers. Regarding teacher education relevance and quality, the report presents teacher graduates’ views of their teacher education and current school principals, and the impact of teacher education on their current teaching; and how they were selected into teaching programmes. With regard to employment and career progression, teacher reported that casual or relief employment was a factor hindering career progression and professional learning and development; attrition was highest in remote schools, outer regional schools and in secondary schools; and most teachers taught where they had completed their teacher preparation programme. The report provides considerations for improving teacher education in the areas of selection into teacher education; length and level of the qualification; content, foci and features of effective programmes; and effective practicum, internships, and partnerships. Overall, the findings also support the view that learning to teach is a continuum involving pre-service teacher education.

Link

Selecting the most suitable candidates into ITE programmes

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2015), Action Now: Selection of Entrants into Initial Teacher Education, AITSL, Melbourne.

These guidelines provide further information and guidance for teacher education institutions to meet the requirements set out in the Standards and Procedures in the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Australia to demonstrate as part of their applications for accreditation stage one that their programme has an evidence-based selection process and minimum entry requirements in place that are consistent with the programme standards. At stage two of accreditation, providers must provide evidence about the impact of the selection mechanisms and minimum entry requirements they have used, and accreditation panels in assessing applications. The document outlines the background to the Guidelines, the context (diversity, equity and legislation), guiding principles of the selection process, admission standards, selection processes and reporting requirements for each of the 3 bases for admission: Academic and non-academic capabilities of all entrants, and effectiveness.

Link

Equipping prospective teachers with what they need to know and do

Australian Government (2014), Review of the Australian Curriculum: Final Report, Australian Government, Canberra.

The Review was established by the Australian Government to evaluate the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum. The Reviewers considered the robustness, independence and balance of the Australian Curriculum, including the process of curriculum shaping, development, monitoring, evaluation and review; and the curriculum content from Foundation to Year 12 for subjects developed to date, with a particular focus on the curriculum for English, mathematics, science, history and geography. The report covers in detail the context of the curriculum, regarding for example the national curriculum debate in Australia and governance issues. The second part of the report presents the findings on development, implementation and structure of the national curriculum, the 9 learning areas and future reform to governance. The Reviewers then provide 30 recommendations to the Commonwealth Minister for Education to improve “its patchy implementation by state and territory education authorities and a number of significant flaws in its conceptualisation and design”.

Link

Australian Government (2015), Skills Assessed by the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students, Australian Government, Canberra.

This document describes the broad literacy and numeracy skills and capabilities measured by the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students in Australia. Following the agreement by all education ministers in 2016, a nationally consistent and benchmarked test was introduced to demonstrate that students completing initial teacher education programmes are in the top 30% of the Australian adult population for personal literacy and numeracy. The document provides background context for the test, scope and test framework. It defines literacy and numeracy and the measures used in the test to evaluate it.

Link

Australian Council for Educational Research (2015), Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students: Sample Questions, ACER, Melbourne.

This document provides a number of sample questions from the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students administered on-line by the Australian Government from 2016 to all students completing initial teacher education.

Link

Australian Council for Educational Research (2016), Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students: Assessment Framework, ACER, Melbourne.

The purpose of this assessment framework is to define the aspects of literacy and numeracy relevant to the context of the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students in Australia, and to provide details of how these aspects of literacy and numeracy are measured so that the necessary judgements of student proficiency can be made. Following the agreement by all education ministers in 2016, a nationally consistent and benchmarked test was introduced to demonstrate that students completing initial teacher education programmes are in the top 30% of the Australian adult population for personal literacy and numeracy. This framework begins with a description of the background to the programme, followed by separate sections on literacy and numeracy, outlining content specific to each domain. The framework concludes with notes on aspects of the Test that are common to literacy and numeracy. Sample literacy and numeracy items are provided in Appendix 1 with information showing how they reflect the framework content.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2015), Professional Experience: Participant Roles and Responsibilities, AITSL, Melbourne.

In its 2014 report, the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group identified strengthened professional experience as one of the keys to improve teacher education in Australia. The purpose of “professional experience” according to these guidelines is to “provide structured opportunities for pre-service teachers to consider and undertake in practice the work of teaching, to relate the practice to knowledge and understanding they are developing in their programme, and to demonstrate a positive impact on student learning”. This document thus describes the roles and responsibilities of each of the following key groups that share responsibility for the professional experience component of initial teacher education programmes: professional experience sites, supervising teachers, pre-service teachers, providers of initial teacher education and education systems.

Link

Ensuring quality delivery of ITE programmes

Teacher Educational Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) (2015), Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers, Department of Education and Training., Canberra.

This report presents the findings of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG), which was tasked with making recommendations on how initial teacher education in Australia could be improved to better prepare new teachers with the practical skills needed for the classroom. On the basis of “fundamental principles… which go to the heart of high-quality initial teacher education – integration, assurance, evidence, and transparency – the TEMAG group describes six key proposals supported by 38 recommendations to help bring about cultural and structural change need to improve initial teacher education in Australia: 1) A strengthened national quality assurance process; 2) Sophisticated and transparent selection for entry to teaching; 3) Integration of theory and practice; 4) Robust assurance of classroom readiness; 5) National research and capability; and 6) Supporting beginning teachers through induction. The report concludes by urging the Australian Government, state and territory governments, non-government education sectors, higher education providers and schools to work together to ensure that these reforms will “ultimately improve student learning”.

Link

Australian Government (2015), Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group. Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers – Australian Government Response, Australian Government, Canberra.

This paper is the Australian Government’s official response to the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group in 2014, which proposed significant improvement in both the content and delivery of initial teacher education courses. The Government proposes “swift and decisive action” to address TEMAG’s recommendations by addressing the following five themes: 1) Stronger quality assurance of teacher education courses; 2) Rigorous selection for entry to teacher education courses;
3) Improved and structured practical experience for teacher education students; 4) Robust assessment of graduates to ensure classroom readiness; and 5) Rational research and workforce planning capabilities. The report concludes by acknowledging TEMAG’s “effective blueprint for reform” and by tasking AITSL with acting on the recommendations, including course accreditation; identifying best practice approaches for the selection of entrants to teacher education; establishing the essential elements of effective practical experience, including a national assessment framework; and establishing a research focus on the effectiveness and impact of teacher education.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2016), Initial Teacher Education: Data Report 2016, AITSL, Melbourne.

The fourth edition of AITSL’s data report was launched in response to recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TMAG), which called for a focus on understanding the impact of initial teacher education. The collection of robust evidence and data is central to evaluating the impact of the TEMAG reforms. The structure of the 2016 report reflect the ITE Data Framework conceived by AITSL in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and the Mitchell Institute in 2016 by providing an analysis of how these data contribute to the vision of a national ITE and teacher workforce data strategy. The report includes a more comprehensive analysis of retention in the initial years of ITE and a longitudinal cohort analysis exploring the completion and attrition rates of ITE students, six years after their commencement. It also includes time series completions, student and graduate satisfaction and graduate employment outcomes at the individual ITE provider level.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2017), Initial Teacher Education: Data Report 2017, AITSL, Melbourne.

The fifth edition of AITSL’s data report was launched in response to recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TMAG), which called for a focus on understanding the impact of initial teacher education. The collection of robust evidence and data is central to evaluating the impact of the TEMAG reforms. The report includes a comparison of six-year completion and attrition outcomes in ITE compared to other higher education programmes; an analysis of multiple demographic factors affecting completion in ITE; “overall” and “full-time” employment rates are presented for recent ITE graduates who studied at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels; and there is new data on the induction experiences and career intentions of early career teachers. For the first time, the report includes an interactive dashboard with time series data on ITE students and an accessible spreadsheet with all data from the tables and charts in the report.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2015), Research Agenda for Initial Teacher Education in Australia, AITSL, Melbourne.

In its 2014 report, the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) identified an urgent need for an improved evidence base on initial teacher education in Australia. In response, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) developed a research agenda outlining a set of research priorities for initial teacher education in Australia, based on the themes of the TEMAG report – quality assurance, selection, professional experience, classroom readiness and workforce planning – and reflecting national reform priorities. The priorities are also organised into three time horizons: developing data collection protocols and assessment tools; exploring the application of these data collection protocols and assessment tools in ITE; and assessing impact. The document concludes by calling for four actions to implement the agenda, including encouraging collaboration, providing access to quality research, advocating for quality initial teacher education research, and developing data protocols and instruments.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2015), Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures, AITSL. Melbourne.

These Standards and Procedures set out the requirements of an initial teacher education programme in order to be nationally accredited. They are designed to ensure that all graduates of initial teacher education meet the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the Graduate career stage. These Standards draws on evidence of pre-service teacher performance collected from within a programme in relation to a pre-service teacher’s performance and from data collected following completion of a programme in relation to the achievements of a programme’s graduates. The Guidelines describe the principles and elements of the accreditation system, the two stages of the accreditation system, what is meant by “evidence of impact”, national programme standards (i.e. 1) Programme outcomes, 2) Programme development, design and delivery, 3) Programme entry, 4) Programme structure and content, 5) Professional experience, and 6) Programme evaluation, reporting and improvement) and graduate teacher standards (i.e. 1) Know students and how they learn, 2) Know the content and how to teach it, 3) Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning, 4) Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments, 5) Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning, 6) Engage in professional learning, and 7) Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community. The guidelines conclude with information on national accreditation procedures, such as accreditation panels and programme reporting.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2015), Classroom Ready: Demonstrating the Impact on Student Learning from Initial Teacher Education Programs – Position Paper, AITSL, Melbourne.

This paper is intended to stimulate discussion on how teacher education programmes in Australia can demonstrate their impact on school student learning, which is central to the approach to accreditation outlined in the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) and the government’s response to it. The response highlights that better quality assurance of teacher education programmes is essential to ensure every programme is preparing classroom ready teachers with the skills they need to make a positive impact on school student learning. The paper describes the place of evidence of impact in the accreditation process, the accreditation process itself, the accreditation standards, the nature and use of evidence in accreditation, principles of evidence, proposed requirements for evidence of impact discussion, evidence of graduate performance, evidence of graduate outcomes, and next steps for further work.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2016), Guidelines for the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia, AITSL. Melbourne,

These Guidelines supports the implementation of the Accreditation of ITE programs in Australia: Standards and Guidelines document. It is primarily designed to guide teacher education institutions in the preparation and assessment of evidence to meet the requirements of stage one accreditation. These guidelines describe in detail the elements of each of the six programme accreditation standards: 1) Programme outcomes, 2) Programme development design and delivery, 3) Programme entry, 4) Programme structure and content, 5) Professional experience, and 6) Programme evaluation, reporting and improvement. Two elements in the programme standards are identified: elements requiring verification (i.e. aspects of the programme standards that need to be identified as present in the provided evidence) and elements requiring professional judgement (i.e. questions that a panel must consider to assess whether the programme standards is met. The document also identifies possible evidence and related programme standards. The guidelines conclude with information on national accreditation procedures, such as accreditation panels and programme reporting. A number of templates are included as appendices, such as application cover sheet, plan to demonstrate impact and graduate teacher standards matrix.

Link

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, (2014), Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, AITSL, Melbourne.

This document presents the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), which defines the three teaching domains of professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed for high quality effective teaching that improves student learning outcomes. The Standards use nationally agreed indicators of teacher quality to guide the preparation, support and development of teachers throughout four professional career stages from Graduate to Proficient Teachers, to Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers. There are 7 standards that outline what teachers should know and be able to do –1) Know students and how they learn; 2) Know the content and how to teach it; 3) Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning; 4) Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments; 5) Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning; 6) Engage in professional learning and 7) Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community. Each Standard has focus areas across each of the three domains, and each focus areas is separated into Standard Descriptors at the four professional career stages. The Graduate Standards will underpin the accreditation of initial teacher education programmes. Graduates from accredited programs qualify for registration in each state and territory. The Proficient Standards will be used to underpin processes for full registration as a teacher and to support the requirements of nationally consistent teacher registration.

Link

Supporting new teachers

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2016), Graduate to Proficient: Australian Guidelines for Teacher Induction into the Profession, AITSL, Melbourne.

Endorsed by Education Ministers at the Education Council on 21 July 2016, this document provides guidance to all those who have a part in supporting the induction of graduates from the Graduate (“Know and Understand”, “Select and Apply” and “Design and Interpret”) to the Proficient career stage (“Create and Adjust”, “Design and Implement”, “Collaborate and Communicate”, “Use and Develop” and “Plan and Evaluate”, as defined by the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The guidance document describes teacher induction, why it matters, the conditions for good induction, the focus of induction, the strategies that should be employed, who should play a role in teacher induction, and the evidence base.

Link

2. Policy and research on ITP
Attracting the most suitable candidates into ITE programmes

Mason, S. and C. Matas (2015), “Teacher attrition and retention research in Australia: Towards a new theoretical framework”, Australian Journal of Teacher Education.

During the last decades, the search to try to understand why Australian teachers prematurely leave their jobs has become an increasing focus of research interest. This article yields significant insights into the history and potential future of the teacher attrition research field. Using a thematic content analysis methodology, a study of the Australian literature reveals that the field in this country is still in its infancy, and is dominated by small-scale, qualitative exploratory studies. Furthermore, it shows the lack of consistency amongst studies discussing teacher attrition, as well as the need for a theoretically informed framework that acknowledges the complex nature of teacher attrition. To fill this void, the authors propose a new theoretical model, arguing that teacher attrition is a complex phenomenon, a product of the interaction of elements from social capital, human capital, positive psychological capital and structural capital intersecting.

Link

Weldon, P. R. (2014), The Teacher Workforce in Australia: Supply, Demand and Data issues, Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne.

This paper provides an overview of the current teacher workforce situation in Australia. It highlights workforce trends and projected growth, and areas where the collection and analysis of additional data may assist in the targeting of effective policy. The author summarises the rising demand for teachers in Australia as the population of primary students is set to increase dramatically over the next ten years; what is known about the teacher workforce, noting that the proportion of male secondary teachers continues to decline; teaching as a part-time profession, which is becoming more prevalent; and what is known about the supply of teachers. Teacher supply varies across Australian states and territories though most states have an oversupply of generalist primary teachers. The secondary workforce is more variable in terms of the availability of teachers by subject areas as well as across states, though regional and remote areas tend to experience greater difficulty attracting and retaining teachers at all levels than do their metropolitan counterparts. In view of the rising demand for teachers and complexity of supply and demand, the author concludes by advocating further in-depth analysis of population growth in order to identify locations where teacher shortages are likely to occur – and further study of the experience of graduates in the first five years of their career may assist to identify subject areas and locations experiencing higher levels of attrition, and may assist the creation of policies to increase the retention of early career teachers.

Link

Weldon, P. R. (2018), “Early career teacher attrition in Australia: evidence, definition, classification and measurement”, Australian Journal of Education.

This article explores three key questions in response to the ongoing media interest and the current citation of high attrition rates in Australia: 1. Where/what is the Australian evidence of (high) early career teacher attrition? 2. What definitions of attrition are being, or should be, used? and 3. How can attrition in Australia be measured? The article therefore firstly considers the figures that have been cited over the past 17 years for Australia and follows the references back to the original sources. A brief overview of international figures is also provided. The second section considers questions 2 and 3 and develops a detailed description of attrition based on the Australian teacher supply pipeline. This places early career teacher attrition in the context of teacher supply and demand, which is the policy area associated with early career teachers, who must first graduate from a recognized initial teacher education (ITE) degree, and must be provisionally registered before they can teach, and become fully registered as a teacher only after they have completed at least one year of teaching. Attention is given to the different levers or causes of attrition, many of which appear to be ignored in the general estimates that tend to be the norm in the literature.

Link

Selecting the most suitable candidates into ITE programmes

Wright, V. (2015), “Is ATAR useful for predicting the success of Australian students in initial teacher education?”, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 40/9, pp. 1-15.

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is the most common selection filter into initial teacher education for undergraduates coming directly from secondary education in Australia. In this paper, data from six cohorts of students from undergraduate degree programmes at a Melbourne university campus were investigated to evaluate the validity of ATAR as a predictor of academic success and performance on school placement. ATAR was positively related to academic success for students in the three Bachelor of Education Primary cohorts but was weakly related for the three Early Childhood/Primary cohorts. Ratings of performance by associate teachers on placement were unrelated to ATAR for all six cohorts. Given less than one third of students nationally enter ITE on the basis of their ATAR the data suggest that a variety of selection methods and criteria are required and ensuring high standards within ITE courses is the best way to control for quality of graduates.

Link

Equipping prospective teachers with what they need to know and do

Adoniou, M. and M. Gallagher (2017), “Professional standards for teachers—what are they good for?”, Oxford Review of Education.

This article reports on a study of teacher and principal attitudes to newly mandated teacher standards in Australia. The qualitative study of 36 teachers and principals was conducted over 12 months as the new educators in five schools completed a mandatory teacher probation process framed by the teacher standards. The study found positive attitudes to teacher standards from both teachers and principals. Contextual reasons, including teacher ownership over the standards and their implementation, are discussed as possible reasons for the positive manner in which the participants in the study received these new standards for teachers.

Link

Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership and University of Melbourne (2016), Final Report – Evaluation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, AITSL and University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

This report provides an assessment of the usefulness, effectiveness and impact of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, which uses nationally agreed indicators of teacher quality to guide the preparation, support and development of teachers throughout four professional career stages. AITSL collaborated with the Centre for Programme Evaluation at Melbourne University and their partner, the Australian College of Educators, to conduct a three-year evaluation, from 2013 to 2015, of the implementation of the Teaching Standards. The evaluation report found that the standards were used across Australia at the national, state and school levels. Their use generally involves mandatory requirements such as registration and certification, but examples for more extended use, such as professional development and teacher self-reflection, were also found in some cases. Initial teacher educators reported the highest levels of knowledge of the standards and had the highest implementation intentions (compared to teachers, teacher candidates and school leaders). The evaluation report suggests that this may be the result of the standards being incorporated into course accreditation processes.

Link

Darling-Hammond, L. (2013), Developing and Sustaining a High-quality Teaching Force, Asia Society.

This paper describes, in brief, the strategies used to develop and support high-quality teaching in three cities—Melbourne, Australia; Singapore; and Toronto, Canada – in which a number of productive policies and practices have been developed that aim to create strong teaching and school leadership workforces in very different contexts. This brief highlights key findings drawn from more in-depth case studies and draws out commonalities across the three cities and then focuses on particularly strategic examples of policies and practices related to recruitment, preparation, induction, ongoing professional learning opportunities, evaluation and leadership and career development. Common themes across the cases include the shared emphasis on a systemic approach, strong recruitment initiatives, increasingly thoughtful preparation and mentoring, purposeful support for ongoing learning, and proactive leadership development. Regarding Melbourne, the authors conclude that teacher quality in Melbourne schools has been supported by all stakeholders: a proactive set of initiatives by the Victoria Department Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in the areas of teacher recruitment (especially, focused service scholarships) and beginning teacher mentoring; a strengthened registration process and establishment of professional teaching standards to guide preparation and new teacher assessment through the Victorian Institute of Teaching; and universities and the DEECD partnering to launch a set of innovative teacher-education reforms. Though? challenges continue to exist with respect to relatively high levels of teacher and leader turnover, ongoing shortages of teachers for high-need communities and fields, and the effects of contract hiring on teacher turnover, the school development approach holds substantial promise for supporting individual and collective teaching quality.

Link

Ingvarson, L. et al. (2014), Best Practice Teacher Education Programs and Australia’s Own Programs, Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne.

Commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education to support the work of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG), this study draws on existing research to identify eight best practice principles for the design, delivery and assessment of teacher education programmes, including coherence, a strong core curriculum, extensive, connected clinical experiences that align theory and practice, well defined standards of professional knowledge and practice and strong school-university partnerships. This paper also articulates the features of teacher education programmes that most effectively support successful transition to effective practice, focusing on the characteristics of teacher education systems in countries that perform relatively well on international tests of student achievement, principally in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The chapter includes five case studies from Canada, Finland, Germany, Singapore and Chinese Taipei, and highlights the importance of building strong systems for assuring the quality of teacher education entrants, programmes and graduates. The final chapter benchmarks teacher education in Australia against system level policies and practices in high performing countries in terms of recruitment for entry to teacher education, accreditation of teacher education programmes and transition and entry to the teaching profession.

Link

Mayer, D. (2014), “Forty years of teacher education in Australia: 1974–2014”, Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 40/5, pp. 461-473.

In this paper, the author traces the history of teacher education in Australia from 1974 to the time of writing, in which questions are increasingly being asked about the quality of teaching and teacher education in Australia. Since the 1970s, there have been more than 100 reviews of teacher education in Australia. The author focuses on 3 phases in the growth and development of teacher education in the past 40 years by considering the ways in which teacher education (and teaching) has been thought about at various points in time and analysing the related policies for funding governance and regulation. The paper concludes by focusing on the current policy moment in Australia, which is positioning teacher education as a “policy problem” requiring a national solution and consider the role of research in, on and for, teacher education into the future.

Link

Roberts-Hull, K., B. Jensen and S. Cooper (2015), A New Approach: Reforming teacher education, Learning First, Australia.

This paper, published by one of the authors of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) is a call for a new way of thinking about initial teacher education (ITE) in Australia. It summarises the key problems in ITE – such as lack of evidence-based content, inadequate training in subject knowledge, an insufficient focus on data collection and analysis skills for clinical teaching practice and limited integration of theory and practice – , the issues driving the problems (e.g. market failure, autonomy of universities); options for reform along the teacher education pathway, drawing on rich international examples of good practice; and the level of government that should intervene. According to the authors, “the challenge is to develop the mix of reforms so all actors in the system are working together to achieve this objective, … which requires looking at the teacher education pathway in its entirety, encompassing the selection of candidates, progression within a course, graduation requirements, registration and employment, induction and early career development. If all these stages are recognised as steps along a common teacher education pathway, reform is more likely to lead to effective teacher preparation”.

Link

Weldon, P. R. (2016), “Out-of-field teaching in Australian secondary schools”, Australian Council for Educational Research, Policy Insights 6.

In this report, out-of-field teaching is defined as a secondary teacher teaching a subject for which they have not studied above first year at university, and for which they have not studied teaching methodology. This report considers the extent to which Australian secondary school teachers are teaching subjects other than those in which they have specialised, which is about 26% of teachers at Years 7–10 are teaching a subject in which they have not specialised as part of their teaching load, as are about 15% of teachers at Years 11–12. The report provides new data on the extent of out‑of‑field teaching overall and in a selection of subject areas, based on further analysis of the 2013 Staff in Australia’s Schools (SiAS) survey. In addition, the report uses new questions in the SiAS 2013 survey to assess the proportion of students affected by out‑of‑field teaching in selected subjects. Given the enrolment growth in ITE programmes and the findings of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, the author advocated continued research to better understand the demand for teachers across different subjects and the nature of the pressures on schools that cause out-of-field teaching.

Link

Ensuring quality delivery of ITE programmes

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2015), InSights – Outcomes of the 2015 National ITE Accreditation Panel Review.

This is a summary of a panel review report to evaluate the national initial teacher education accreditation process involving nearly 175 stakeholders in initial teacher preparation in Australia using a survey, a face-to-face workshop and interviews based on random selection. The panel review suggests that while the national accreditation process is still relatively new in its implementation, it is largely supported and valued by the stakeholders consulted. However the panel review identified areas for potential improvement, including clearer guidelines to assist panel members and ITE providers to better utilise their existing skills and knowledge; clear and consistent advice about the types of evidence ITE providers should provide so the burden for panel members to assess applications for program accreditation is reduced; continued support with training to prepare panel members for the assessment with a flexible training ‘refresher’; and a more centralised approach to accreditation may enhance the consistency of the national accreditation process.

Link

Australian Primary Principals Association (2015), Initial Teacher Education: Teacher Preparation, Course Content and Specialisation at All Levels but Particularly in Primary Schools, APPA, Kingston, ACT.

This discussion paper was prepared and written by the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA). It presents the results of a survey of 530 primary school principals who had employed graduate teachers or had them deployed to their schools in the last two years. Principals were asked to rank graduates on a scale of 1 – 6 where 1 is “no evidence or understanding” and 6 is equal to “excellent preparation and consistent practice” on 5 topics: community readiness; curriculum knowledge and pedagogy; classroom management; communication skills and school values and mission. Principals were also asked to rate their satisfaction of the university’s initial teacher education programme, to which almost half of respondents reported inadequate preparation by the graduate teacher’s university. The paper describes a number of issues highlighted by the survey – notably the degree of specialisation in initial teacher education programmes, but also other issues such as lack of support for new primary school teachers and lack of classroom management skills – and makes a number of recommendations to AITSL in view of the TEMAG report. The paper concludes by voicing “the commitment of all peak associations to working with AITSL to implement the Government’s initial teacher education agenda in ways that most benefit students and are helpful to schools”.

Link

Cruickshank, K. and R. Westbrook (2013), “Local and global – conflicting perspectives? The place of overseas practicum in preservice teacher education”, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 41/4, pp. 55–68.

This study challenges the perceptions of international practicum as “cultural tourism” and lacking value in comparison with local placements by exploring the teaching development of a group of 24 preservice teachers from a regional university on a placement in Beijing. The paper examines the ways they make explicit connections between their learning on overseas practicum and their teaching in Australia by analysing their professional knowledge; professional skills (e.g. classroom management and communication, and selecting goals, assessment and unit planning); and professional commitment (i.e. teamwork, confidence and autonomy and flexibility), especially in the light of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The findings indicate that it is precisely the difference in teaching contexts that enables professional development in key areas of professional standards.

Link

Sharplin, E. (2014), “Reconceptualising out-of-field teaching: Experiences of rural teachers in Western Australia”, Educational Research, Vol. 56/1, pp. 97-110.

This paper examines the experiences of “out-of-field teachers” in rural Western Australia. Out‑of-‑ield teaching (generally defined as a situation where teachers are appointed to areas or phases of learning for which they have no formal qualifications) is an international phenomenon that can impact on the educational experiences of students. Teachers in rural and difficult to staff schools are frequently appointed out‑of‑field due to teacher shortages. The participants were 29 teachers commencing employment at 17 rural/remote Department of Education schools in Western Australia. Data were collected through an initial questionnaire; a series of telephone interviews; site visits; and email contact for up to 15 months. The study concluded that out‑of‑field teaching is an important issue that can impact on teachers’ sense of efficacy and teacher attrition. When teachers are mis-assigned, systems and schools should provide support structures to assist teachers to develop their competence and to reduce the potential negative impact on teachers and learners. Currently, there is no requirement for out‑of‑field teachers in Australia to be provided with additional training, induction or meet specified conditions for continuing employment. The proposed framework for categorising out‑of‑field teaching is presented as a tool for further exploration within future research in this area.

Link

White, S. and J. Kline (2012), Renewing Rural and Regional Teacher Education Curriculum – Final Report, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Sydney.

Recruiting and retaining well-prepared teachers for rural and regional schools, remains an ongoing issue faced by all State and Territory based jurisdictions in Australia. This project on Renewing Rural and Regional Teacher Education Curriculum (RRRTEC), funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), explores what teacher education could do differently to better prepare teachers for rural and regional workforce needs. The two-year study involved analysis of 3 data sets including: a large literature search on rural and regional teacher education studies; pre-service student surveys (n= 263) into their rural professional experiences and; in-depth interviews with teacher educators (n=20) nationally. Based on this data key findings revealed the need to prepare rural and regional teachers to be community ready, school ready and classroom ready and also informed the development of a conceptual framework design that emphasised the importance of understanding place. Using the framework five themes were identified and formed the basis of a set of curriculum modules to inform the ways in which teacher educators need to explicitly address teachers’ work and professional lives in rural and regional communities: experiencing rurality, community readiness, whole school focus, student learning and the classroom and professional experience and advice for working in rural/regional settings.

Link

Certifying and hiring new teachers

Louden, W. (2015), InSight – Standardised Assessment of Initial Teacher Education: Environmental: Scan and Case Studies, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Mebourne.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of standardised assessments in teacher education. The paper identifies four types of standardised entry and exit assessments used in teacher education – basic skills assessments; content knowledge assessments; pedagogical knowledge assessments; and teaching performance assessments – and provide examples of each of these assessments drawings from tools such as edTPA, Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers, Melbourne Clinical Praxis Exam and Deakin Authentic Teacher Assessment, UK Professional Skills Assessment and others. Most of these assessments are used in the United States and are computer‑based multiple-choice test. In the Australian context, the two most promising opportunities for the use of standardised assessments are identified as professional skills assessments and teaching performance assessment. Literacy and numeracy skills assessments make sense in the context of mass higher education and a wide variety of teacher education entry routes. Authentic performance assessments, particularly those using digital platforms, make the most of contemporary assessment technology and offer the opportunity to strengthen national assessments of “readiness to teach”. The paper concludes with an analysis of the implications for assessment in Australian teacher education, including a set of policy options.

Link

Rice, S., V. Volkoff and N. Dulfer (2015), “Teach For/Teach First candidates: what conclusions do they draw from their time in teaching?”, Teachers and Teaching, Vol. 21/5, pp. 497-513.

In this article, the authors seek to understand the types of conclusions drawn by Teach For/Teach First candidates from their time in teaching, especially given the growing interest in this teacher education pathway in many countries and the criteria of leadership capacity required of candidates. In Australia, Teach For/Teach First commenced with a cohort of 45 in late 2009. This study set out to explore the types of attributions made by 76 Teach For candidates for the low achievement of disadvantaged students, and what they consider to be potential means of effectively addressing the achievement gap. Participants gave most importance to the types of people attracted to and retained in teaching, and placed relatively little importance on improving school resourcing or addressing systemic and structural contributions to educational disadvantage. Given that there is evidence that many Teach For candidates leave teaching after a relatively short time in the profession, and that this time appears not to have allowed them to develop as yet a full and rich picture of the factors that impact on teachers’ work, identity, and effectiveness, the authors present the implications for those training and working with Teach For candidates. First, training may need to incorporate further study on some of the structural and systemic issues that contribute to educational inequalities; and second, candidates need to be encouraged by staff in their preparation courses to consider how working conditions in disadvantaged schools may contribute to particular issues amongst those who have been teaching in these schools for some time. Given the small sample size, the authors conclude by calling for further research to confirm whether these views are held by other Teach For candidates.

Link

Supporting new teachers

Hay Group (2014), Building the Right Foundation: Improving Teacher Induction in Australian Schools, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Melbourne.

The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis into the key research in the area of new teacher induction. Section 1 outlines why school sectors and leaders should invest in induction for new teachers by focusing on three key areas: engaging high potential teachers; building a professional performance and development culture; and moving beyond the ‘sink or swim’ mentality for new teachers. Section 2 discusses induction in the education context, focusing on its role as a formal programme for beginning teaching, a phase in the teacher lifecycle as well as a process of socialisation. While there is no universal best practice, there are key themes which emerge from the literature. Section 3 considers the current state of induction practice in Australian schools. While there is limited data available on the effectiveness of existing efforts, significant progress is being made. Section 4 looks to the future and considers the next steps for Australian schools. The authors examine the key lessons from successful school systems internationally, which reveal that induction is one contributing part in a holistic approach to education designed to improve student outcomes; teaching is a public practice, rather than private practice, as well as a critical enabler; and time and resources must be invested in induction. Finally, section 5 recognises that in seeking to implement change, it is culture, leadership and clarity that are the keys to success.

Link

Kearney, S. (2014), “Understanding beginning teacher induction: A contextualized examination of best practice”, Cogent Education, Vol. 1/967477, pp. 1-15.

This article reviews Australian and international policy and research on induction programmes that have been successful in supporting beginning teachers and curbing attrition rates. The review proposes a definition for and characteristics of induction to better understand common misconceptions. The author conceives best practice induction as a way to retain quality teachers in the profession, help ameliorate conditions for beginning teachers and as a pathway of a larger programme to support teachers’ continuous professional learning. Finally, the author provides recommendations, specifically in the Australian context, to improve induction practices, in the form of: orientation to the school to help socialise new teachers to their new workplace and the profession; mentoring as part of a situated learning process, culminating in initiation into a professional Community of Practice; focused collaboration with colleagues working in similar situations for additional professional support; structured observations by a mentor; structured time release; meeting with mentors for professional support and to discuss outcomes of observations; collection of evidence and supporting documentation in line with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers; and reflection on practice.

Link

Kelly, N. et al. (2014), “Beginning teacher support in Australia: Towards an online community to augment current support”, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 39/4, pp. 68-82.

This paper describes opportunities to improve the current support provided to beginning teachers in Australia. It holds that there is a need for approaches that go beyond school‑based induction and support. The paper presents data from a survey of 118 teachers in their first 3 years of service, responding to questions about their first year of teaching, in Queensland, with aims to determine current access to support and perceptions about gaps in support. It uses these findings alongside existing evidence to make arguments that some beginning teachers are effectively unsupported in school and that universities have the potential to play a greater role in beginning teacher support. Further results are used to suggest guidelines for developing a national online community of pre‑service and beginning teachers. A case study of a successful online professional support community is used as a model for how this may be implemented.

Link

Uusimaki, L. (2013), “Empowering pre-service teacher supervisors’ perspectives: A relational-cultural approach towards mentoring”, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 38/7, pp. 45-59.

Positive relationship building between the university and the schools that receive their pre-service teachers are crucial to developing quality educators fit for the teaching profession. This paper presents an overview of a mentor workshop that was introduced by the professional experience unit of a regional university in Australia. The aim of the mentor workshop was to explore classroom teachers’ concerns when supervising pre‑service teachers and find ways to better support them in the supervisor role. In addition, different ways and ideas about how to best meet the high (and growing) demand for professional experience placements were explored. Findings suggest that closer relations between university and the schools were warranted to ensure the desired quality of supervision envisaged by all stakeholders. Findings also indicate a strong interest from some classroom teachers in further postgraduate studies in education. This has positive implications for university postgraduate education programs and corollary potential to increase postgraduate intake.

Link

3. Other reports on Australia

McKenzie, P. et al. (2014), Staff in Australia’S Schools 2013: Main Report on the Survey, ACER, Melbourne.

This report provides an overview of the results obtained from the Staff in Australia’s Schools (SiAS) 2013 survey commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education and conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The survey was intended to provide a detailed picture of the Australian teacher workforce, and to gather information to assist in future planning of the workforce. It was also designed to provide comparative and updated data following on from the previous SiAS surveys conducted in 2006-07 and 2010. The third cycle of SiAS included a number of new and revised questions to reflect emerging teacher workforce issues and the introduction of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) by AISTL in 2011. The survey was structured around four populations: Primary Teachers; Secondary Teachers; Primary Leaders; and Secondary Leaders. ‘Leaders’ were defined as Principals, Deputy/Vice Principals, and their equivalents in the different school systems. This report discusses the methodology used in the SiAS survey, including questionnaire revision, sample design, survey administration, and achieved response rates; and results with regard to demographic background, qualifications and tertiary study, current position and work; professional learning activities, career paths in teaching, early career teachers, activities outside teaching, future career intentions, views on teaching and leadership, school staffing issues and teacher appraisal.

Link

OECD (2014), Country Note. Results from TALIS 2013: Australia, OECD Publishing, Paris.

This “Country note” was prepared for Australia for the release of results from the 2013 cycle of the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey. Results underscore the importance of distributed leadership as a key source of well-being for teachers. Australia is heavily invested in developing its teachers – in Australia, teachers report almost universal access to professional development opportunities (97%) – but teachers do not always report a positive impact on teaching. Similarly, nearly all teachers in Australia (97%) report being formally appraised, and many report that their schools appoint a mentor (54%), establish a development plan (50%) or discuss measures to remedy weaknesses and help them improve their teaching (63%). However, nearly half of all teachers in Australia (43%) report that the appraisal and feedback systems in their school have had little or no impact on the way teachers teach in the classroom. The Note concludes with maps of the typical teacher, principal and school environment in Australia, in addition to figures on the impact of teacher feedback, participation in professional development, and teachers’ work in Australia.

Link

OECD (2013), Education Policy Outlook Australia, OECD Publishing, Paris.

This policy profile on education on Australia is part of the “OECD Education Policy Outlook” series, which presents comparative analysis of education policies and reforms across OECD countries. Each profile reviews the current context and situation of a country’s education system and examines its challenges and policy responses, according to six policy levers that support improvement: Students: How to raise outcomes for all in terms of 1) equity and quality and 2) preparing students for the future; Institutions: How to raise quality through 3) school improvement and 4) evaluation and assessment; and System: How the system is organised to deliver education policy in terms of 5) governance and 6) funding. The Australia profile highlights the challenges of continuing to reduce inequities between students from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds by tackling system-level policies which hinder equity in education; enhancing skills to meet the demands of the rapidly changing economy; providing school leaders and teachers with adequate development opportunities; providing clear information on the strengths and weaknesses of schools and on best practices to help achieve objectives; within a decentralised approach, ensuring there is alignment and reform capacity across states and territories to deliver reforms, while maintaining a national vision; and achieving consistency and coherency in funding. The policy profile also includes a map of the education system, key statistics and indicators, and references for Australia.

Link

OECD (2016), Country Note: Education at a Glance 2016. Australia, OECD Publishing, Paris.

This “Country note” was prepared for Australia for the release of results from the 2016 edition of the annual OECD publication on statistics and indicators, Education at a Glance. It focuses on six major topics: educational attainment, skills and participation in the labour market; equity in education and the labour market; financing of education; the teaching profession; tertiary education; and early childhood through upper secondary education. Key results from Australia indicate that Australia has one of the highest shares of tertiary-educated adults, mostly at bachelor’s level. However, entry and graduation rates would be much lower without international and older students. Tertiary-educated adults holding bachelor’s and doctoral degrees face higher employment rates than people holding a master’s degree. Australia is also one of the countries with the lowest pay gaps across different education levels. Australia has a relatively high expenditure on education and a relatively large share of the expenditure comes from private sources, mostly in the form of tuition fees. Tertiary education tuition fees are amongst the highest in OECD countries, especially for international students. Teachers’ salaries are relatively high at all levels and in particular at tertiary level. However, their distribution is quite flat, as they vary relatively little throughout teachers’ careers and across levels of education.

Link

OECD (2017), Country Roads: Education and Rural Life, p. 12.

From the OECD Trends Shaping Education Spotlight series, this report provides a closer look to these challenges and opportunities for education in rural regions. Rapidly growing urbanisation is undoubtedly one of the main characteristics of our time but quality rural education is important for individual growth and social cohesion as well as regional economic productivity and innovation. This Spotlight outlines trends in the rural population, the urban-rural skills gap, education and skills supply in rural economies, the rural school, multi-grade classrooms, size and efficiency, access to early childhood education, ICT and distance education, teaching in rural areas, and attracting and supporting teachers in rural areas. The report concludes by posing some questions for thought regarding the kind of skills rural schools should develop to meet the demand of regional labour markets of the future; what would regional skill needs look like if the automation of jobs increases dramatically in the coming years, and the kinds of skills needed if a combination of improvements in transportation and communication, increased work flexibility and leisure time, and high levels of pollution, mobility problems and increasing urban gentrification were to renew interest in rural life.

Link

Santiago, P. et al. (2011), OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment: Australia, OECD Publishing, Paris.

This report for Australia forms part of the OECD Review on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes. The purpose of the Review is to explore how systems of evaluation and assessment can be used to improve the quality, equity and efficiency of school education. The Review looks at the various components of assessment and evaluation frameworks that countries use with the objective of improving student outcomes. These include student assessment, teacher appraisal, school evaluation and system evaluation. In 2008, a major national agenda was established with a common framework for reform in education agreed between the Australian Government and the state and territory governments through the National Education Agreement. The OECD Review Team in its recommendations noted that while the overall evaluation and assessment framework appears highly sophisticated and well conceptualised, especially at national and systemic levels, “there is a less clear articulation of ways for the national agenda to generate improvements in classroom practice through the assessment and evaluation procedures which are closer to the place of learning”.

Link

Skilbeck, M. and H. Connell (2004), Country Background Report. Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers: Australia, Australian Government, Canberra.

This document is part of a reporting exercise undertaken by Australia in the context of the OECD study “Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers” conducted between 2002 and 2004. The report describes teacher policy in Australia and the status of teachers; selection into ITE, course content, recruitment and hiring, and salary; and pre- and in‑service teacher training. It describes the challenges of the system, such as developing greater coherence in education policy, staffing rural and remote schools, and variability in teacher supply. The authors also present current directions in professional development, including the Commonwealth government’s Teachers for the 21st Century: Making the Difference initiative (2001–2003) and the self-managing, self-governing school as a centre for professional development. In conclusion, global issues emerging from the study for this Country Background Report are the need to position the teaching career within the context of a more flexible working life, attracting and recruiting to teaching, and pre-service education of teachers.

Link

Thomson, S., L. De Bortoli and C. Underwood (2016), PISA 2015: A First Look at Australia’s Results, Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne,

This paper provides the initial results from PISA 2015 for Australia in an international and national context, and of different Australian demographic groups. Although Australia’s average score in scientific literacy is significantly above the OECD average, Australia and 12 other countries showed a significant decline in their scientific literacy performance between 2006 and 2015. Similarly, the average score in scientific literacy is significantly above the OECD average but had declined between 2006 and 2015 in 6 states and territories. Australia’s proportion of high performers (11%) was higher than the OECD average, which was 8%. Australia’s proportion of low performers (18%) was lower than the OECD average (21%). Similar trends were seen in reading and mathematical literacy both at the international and national levels. Results are then presented for male and female students, for indigenous students, for school location, for socioeconomic, for immigrant and for language backgrounds.

Link

Zanderigo, T., E. Dowd and S. Turner (2012), Delivering School Transparency in Australia: National Reporting through My School, OECD Publishing, Paris.

This case study describes the policy-making process in Australia leading to the public release of information on every school in Australia through the My School website. Policy lessons are described to provide insight for OECD member countries which may be grappling with similar issues in developing school accountability systems, particularly those working within federal-state contexts. While some of the lessons from this policy development and implementation process relate specifically to Australia’s circumstances, there are general policy prescriptions of broader interest to other countries seeking to improve school education through measurement and reporting of key factors of school operations and performance.

Link