Activating and reinforcing graduate capabilities: Early lessons learned from a Teaching Performance Assessment

Year: 2021

Author: Kriewaldt, Jeana, Walker, Rebecca, Morey, Val, Morrison, Chad

Type of paper: Symposium

Australian initial teacher education accreditation requirements have, since 2016, mandated a capstone teaching performance assessment (TPA) to assess pre-service teachers (PSTs) against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. This paper examines how the standardised TPA known as the Assessment for Graduate Teaching (AfGT) can impact on PSTs’ readiness to teach. A key feature of this TPA is that PSTs report on a sequence of learning that they design and deliver during their final school placement. The AfGT comprises PSTs’ analysis of their teaching practice using video of teaching episodes, observation feedback, and students’ work samples augmented by an online situational judgement task. This research comprised a purposeful sample of convenience of 70 participants. The participants were PSTs studying an undergraduate (n = 38) or postgraduate (n = 32) Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course at three universities in Australia. The researchers used thematic data analysis of surveys in to investigate how the AfGT impacted on PSTs’ perspectives of what matters in teaching.The research established that the process of completing the TPA can activate and reinforce reflection and professional reasoning and expand PSTs’ knowledge of how their teaching improved student learning. The results provide insights into how a complex and high-stakes TPA can foster professional growth and signals key enabling conditions that lead to improvements in practice. Though we report that high-stakes TPA can foster professional growth it is critical to recognise that these are not guaranteed to be effective for all and are contingent upon conditions that support and enable such learning.In these times of review of ITE, it’s important to take into account research to inform the ongoing development, implementation and evaluation activities that will ensure inclusive, sustainable and increased professional growth in PSTs.