Game-changing: the AfGT and its impact on all involved in initial teacher education

Year: 2018

Author: Angelico, Teresa, Keamy, Kim, Selkrig, Mark

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this presentation we report on the impact that the AfGT has on all those involved in initial teacher education: the academics, para-academics, school leaders and mentor teachers who are collectively involved in the teaching, support and assessment of pre-service teachers (PSTs).
In determining whether graduating teachers are ‘’classroom ready” (DET, 2015), university-based initial teacher educators have an important role in communicating with school leaders and mentor teachers, they provide guidance and support to PSTs, and are also responsible for marking the AfGT. School leaders and mentor teachers, have a role in supporting PSTs to undertake this assessment during their final placement.
As a high-stakes assessment, the AfGT has acted as a catalyst for change across the Consortium. For university-based initial teacher educators, it has changed the way that we work with school partners and is changing the way programs are designed, implemented and assessed. Cross-consortium collaborations mean that the contextualisation of a standardised assessment instrument in different settings and for different program types is complex work: the terminology varies and assumptions cannot be made about how each partner university prepares and supports PSTs on their practicum placements.
Data from evaluations of the implementation of the AfGT across two years is considered in this presentation. These data reveal support for the initiative but also point to some gaps between the intended and the realised curriculum (Glatthorn, quoted in Print, 1993).
Complex negotiations occur across the Consortium to ensure that the fidelity of the AfGT is retained and that contextualisation is respected. The resulting collegial conversations are purposeful (Selkrig & Keamy, 2015), based on respectful relationships and are informed by evidence in order to be productive (Earl & Timperley, 2008).
An improvement paradigm is used as an overall theoretical framework to facilitate the identification of professional learning needs and development of responsive strategies to address needs and to continually improve the AfGT. It enables the integration of diverse viewpoints of all stakeholders (Bryk, 2015, p. 475) and values the practical knowledge needed to enact basic disciplinary knowledge (Lewis, 2015). Moreover, the paradigm distinguishes between “knowledge that something can work and knowledge of how to actually make it work reliably over diverse contexts and populations” (Bryk, 2015, p. 469) and promotes the development of the “know how that is necessary” for improvement (Bryk, 2015, p. 475).