Paper 2 Australia: Pre-service teacher selection: A case study from Melbourne, Australia using the Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (TCAT)

Year: 2019

Author: Tan, Katina, Lee, Kiong, Au

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers, and the quality of their practice, is integral in determining educational outcomes (Hattie, 2016; Darling-Hammond, 1997). To ensure teacher quality, one of the key strategic levers used by policy-makers is the selection process into initial teacher education (ITE) programs. In Australia, there has been a renewed focus on selection driven by the Action Now report (TEMAG, 2014), which recommended a transparent and sophisticated selection process that considers both academic and non-academic characteristics of prospective pre-service teachers. This has been adopted at a national level through accreditation requirements (AITSL, 2015), with Victoria supplementing this with a state-specific framework that outlines the selection criteria that initial teacher education providers must use in their admission of per-service teachers (VET, 2017).

This presentation will share how the TEMAG recommendation and Victorian Framework have been applied by a leading ITE provider in Victoria using a multi-dimensional research-based selection tool. The Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (TCAT) pre-dates both the Victorian State Government’s framework and the Action Now Report (2014) but has proven to be sufficiently robust and comprehensive that it addresses all the selection criteria within both regulatory requirements.

Building on the notion that teaching is a complex and highly challenging profession that requires a mix of knowledge, skills, competencies, dispositions and personal characteristics, how do these factors play out in the high-stakes environment of initial teacher selection? Are some factors more important than others? Do these factors continue to predict performance as pre-service teachers journey through their initial teacher education?

Initial research investigating these questions will be shared, drawn from a case study of three cohorts (2015-17) of teacher candidates, selected using TCAT by a highly competitive ITE provider.

Implications for policy, ITE providers and potential teacher candidates will be discussed. In addition, future directions and potential development for TCAT to support the dynamic, highly intellectual and intricate work of teachers will be considered.