The impact of TEMAG: Research to move beyond compliance to professional agency in teacher education

Calls for change and fundamental reform in teacher preparation are prominent in education policy internationally, and are reflected in the increasingly influential discourse that constructs teacher education as a problem.

The focus of the panel is on research and the use of evidence to inform decision-making in teacher education. A distinguishing feature is how evidence can be built and used by the profession, thus vesting responsibility in the profession. In particular, research conducted on the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA), a nationally endorsed teaching performance assessment (TPA) being implemented in 14 Higher Education Institutions across the nation, will be drawn on to demonstrate how ‘strong’ evidence can be harnessed to inform program review and renewal, as well as preliminary qualitative evidence of the impact on graduates’ professional practice. This is in direct response to the TEMAG report finding that there was a lack of research into the effectiveness of ITE in Australia.

Panel members will present different perspectives on the introduction of TPAs in ITE through three key foci. The first focus interrogates the changing landscape of teacher education policy with a particular focus on AITSL and the role of the federal government in teacher education. This includes the establishment of graduate professional standards and the associated requirement for program alignment with the standards. The second focus draws on evidence from the GTPA research activities regarding the utility of TPAs as a professionalising activity for both teaching and teacher education in Australia. In particular, evidence will focus on the potential of interuniversity moderation and the build of an evidence base of the quality of teacher education in Australia. Here, notions of performativity, standardisation, agency and intelligent accountability will be explored. A multilayered notion of accountability, to self, others and community, is considered as a challenge to reductionist notions of teacher education as compliance. A third focus draws on voices of teacher educators, school principals and newly graduated teachers to hear insider accounts of connecting standards and evidence in the implementation of the GTPA. This discussion provides an analytic lens for examining meaning-making in context, and the impact of new practices on professional identity. The intended outcome of the session is to explore if and how the TPA may inform ITE programs and support the professional learning of teachers and teacher educators, and promote the achievement of individual and collective professional agency over performativity.