Determining the Sustainability of Teacher Performance Assessments

Year: 2021

Author: Clinton, Janet, Keamy, Kim, Tan, Katina, Morey, Val, Cotton, Wayne, Hills, Emily

Type of paper: Individual Paper

A key policy mechanism for improving initial teacher education in Australia has been to require Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers to demonstrate evidence of their impact on school student learning (Australian Government Department of Education & Training, 2015). Further, it requires that ITE providers include a final Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA), as evidence of pre-service teachers meeting the Australian Professional Standards for Graduate Teachers.  While most ITE providers now have an active TPA, attention must now turn to the sustainability of TPAs and understanding the impact of the policy reform.The notion of structural integrity is adopted from the field of engineering. It suggests that a structure must be fit for purpose under its present operational and environmental conditions. Further, it sets out to predict the level that the structure will continue to be functional should pressures and load exceed that of the original design. When applied to education, it predicts whether an initiative is not only scalable but whether implementation and fidelity of the initiative can withstand the ever-changing political, social, and economic demands throughout its life course. It is proposed that structural integrity is not just a case of good design but also requires continuous quality assurance through monitoring and evaluation.Applied to ITE, the implementation requires the TPA be embedded within the program and engages initial teacher education educators in a collaborative manner so as to ensure that the assessment is continuously deemed fit for purpose, reliable, fair, and applicable and reproducible in multiple contexts. Hence, it can continue to perform its designed function throughout its life course.It is suggested that these principles of stability are broadly applicable to the ITE context. Additionally, it is argued that while understanding a continuing TPA's contextual fit, assessment integrity and overall fidelity is key in our current dynamic ITE environment. The experience of the Assessment for Graduate Teaching (AfGT) Consortium’s continuing effort to achieve a sustainable systems approach and resource to assess classroom readiness of our PSTs is utilised to argue that sustainable implementation of TPAs locally and nationally requires an understanding of the structural integrity of the systems and implementation processes. The AfGT will be used in this presentation as a case in which the concept of structural integrity has been applied.