Advancing teacher education quality

ACU’s Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA) project team has been awarded second place in the 2020 European e-Learning Excellence Awards.

Academic Conferences International awarded the accolade to ACU staff from the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education for their paper outlining how they are advancing teacher education quality through digital innovation. Their paper has been published in the book 6th e-Learning Excellence Awards 2020 alongside the other award finalists.

ACU congratulates team members Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Professor Michele Haynes, Dr Andrew Smith, Alex Chen, Dr Chantelle Day, Dr Melanie Spallek and Associate Professor Lenore Adie on their achievements.

Building the evidence base

The accolade was bestowed in recognition of the team’s work to establish the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA) standards and moderation methodology and build the digital ‘Evidence for Quality in Initial Teacher Education’ (EQuITE) system to collect associated data.

The GTPA is an authentic assessment of professional readiness for teaching graduates. GTPA data is collected online in EQuITE and enables large-scale data collection, cross-institutional moderation, analysis and reporting to improve teacher education programs and for maintaining an Australian teaching quality standard.

To tackle Australia’s lack of an evidence base for teacher education quality, the project team is working with 18 Australian universities across six states and territories to pool GTPA data and analyse trends.

“This is the biggest teacher education innovation in the country. Previously data of this type was not being collected consistently within institutions, let alone across institutions,” Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith said.

Using a longitudinal methodology, the initiative enables tracking of preservice teachers from multiple universities using a common standard as a recognised reference point. In a related study, the team is investigating progression of whole cohorts in Bachelors and Masters programs, by collecting their point of entry data (eg ATAR scores), academic performance data, results on the mandatory Literacy and Numeracy Test in Initial Teacher Education and GTPA data at graduation.

“We collect and analyse student characteristics and performance data from multiple institutions throughout their degree, including students who leave their study before finishing. This allows us to see trends in the data and to understand what works well to support teacher education, and when extra supports should be provided to address particular challenges,” Professor Michele Haynes said.

The next stage of the initiative will track a subset of graduates into the teaching workforce in order to explore the teaching practices that support teacher quality in schools and how this connects with their performance in teacher education study programs.

“This body of work will enable the Australian public to be confident in the quality of their teachers,” Claire said.

“It provides the foundations for a world-first study of the impact of policy and practice reforms intended to enable the nation’s children and young people to be offered world-class education.”

The team also responded adaptively to unique challenges that arose this year, which threatened to disrupt the GTPA assessment of 5,000 preservice teachers likely unable to access a school setting due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The team worked quickly with the full range of Higher Education Institutes to implement innovative tools that enabled assessment of graduate competence via simulated scenarios.

“I’m very proud that the team has avoided a disruption in the pipeline of thousands of our future teachers through this work,” Claire said.

The team’s work has also been shortlisted for the 2020 AFR Higher Education Award.

E-learning awards  


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