Discerning key principles for a nationally mandated teacher performance assessment: Literature Review for AfGT

Year: 2021

Author: Buchanan, John, Talbot, Debra

Type of paper: Symposium

In this paper, we revisit the literature on Teacher Performance Assessments that informed the development of a set of design principles for the AfGT.   We blend this with the inchoate Australian literature on the topic, and our own experiences in developing and implementing a TPA, to investigate implications for future practice. In so doing, we adopt a practice we hope will be common to pre-service teachers, diagnosing and evaluating their practice. As part of this we also intend to scrutinise the TPA itself, and its potential for assessing the intellectual work of teaching. We note here two issues that have arisen in the administration of the TPA that impact on assessing graduating teachers’ intellectual work. The first is context. Graduating teachers have explained how critical their contexts are in terms of successfully negotiating the TPA. Contextual issues include support and rapport with, and availability of, the supervising teacher, the school ‘climate’ and critical incidents. We see this as a dilemma for moderation of results and associated confidence in the instruments’ reliability. Secondly, we note a tendency for pre-service teachers to couch the TPA in terms of performance over reflection. Many appear to position the TPA as being about them, rather than for them. We contend that it is primarily the reverse; the TPA is primarily for them, rather than about them. Its most noble, most fundamental, role is to prompt reflection on action, and subsequent improvement. Failure to recognise this, we contend, risks shrinking the TPA, and, in the minds of beginning teachers, teaching and learning, to processes of telling, listening, memorising and regurgitating. Might the TPA be a misnomer? It arguably concerns itself with learning more than teaching, and reflection more than performance.