The Value of The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers as an Evaluation Tool to Enhance Teacher Quality

Year: 2021

Author: Barry, Damien

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Teacher quality has been recognised as the most important school variable influencing student achievement. As such, effective teacher evaluation processes can be a key lever in assisting schools and teachers to have a specific focus on teacher quality in order to improve student outcomes. Increasingly, schools are using The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL, 2011) as the basis for evaluating teacher performance as they provide clarity around what constitutes effective teaching. The perceived benefits of using The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers as an evaluation framework is that they create a structure for the provision of feedback, they offer a common language across school staff, and they provide clarity around what teachers are expected to know and do as part of their professional role. However, there is a need to explore the value of this framework as a tool to enhance teacher quality when used as part of a teacher evaluation process.The paper presents the findings from a single case study of one school across five geographic sites. A mixed methodology approach was undertaken with data collected through a survey and semi-structured interviews. Phase 1 occurred in Term 1 of the 2017 school year with 25 teachers completing the survey with seven of these teachers being interviewed about their experiences with teacher evaluation processes prior to 2017. Phase 2 revisited the same teachers in Term 4, 2017, following their involvement in a new teacher evaluation process that incorporated The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. On this occasion, 23 teachers completed the survey. Six teachers from the original seven agreed to be re-interviewed. Thematic network suggested relationships amongst concepts occurring in the interview data. Structural equation modeling confirmed whether pre-specified relationships amongst concepts were supported by the survey data. Triangulating theses results for this single case study found a consistent pattern: the use of The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers as a framework for an evaluation process was secondary to a range of other key factors to ensure the benefits of an evaluation process were realised. Key factors identified for an effective evaluation process within this case study school included (a) the relationship that the teacher has with their evaluator, (b) the skills of the evaluator, and (c) the addition of a developmental plan post evaluation. Further research is recommended to be able to generalise these findings beyond this case study site.