Exploring experienced teachers’ views of what constitutes evidence of preservice teachers’ demonstration of ‘good’ practice

Year: 2013

Author: Sim, Cheryl

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teacher professional standards inform the design and assessment criteria for all ITE programs in universities – with a particularly strong emphasis on the professional practice component. For the growth of the necessary knowledge and skills to meet the professional standards, these programs must include theoretical knowledge and application in authentic settings. Although standards for the profession are developed and explicitly defined by the registration authorities, the problem of consistency across sites remains, including agreed understandings of the types of performance that will count as evidence when assessing and reporting pre-service teachers’ demonstration of achieving the standards. This is a critical issue for academics in teacher education, for the pre-service teachers being assessed and for educational authorities and employers relying on valid and reliable assessments of knowledge and capabilities.
This paper draws from data collected during the implementation from 2010 to 2012 of an ALTC Project: Using Professional Standards: Assessing work integrated learning in initial teacher education. (Project Evidence). This project engaged with experienced teachers to access their knowledge and understandings that inform their practices and the decisions they make when assessing the performance of pre-service teachers during school-based learning placements. The aim of the project was to provide a professional learning resource which would facilitate professional conversations and improved decision –making in relation to practicum assessment practices. The paper examines the transcribed collaborative discussions of the participating experienced supervisors as they engaged with notions of standards, ‘quality’ teaching, good supervision and expectations of graduate teacher capabilities. Thirty experienced teachers across three states, participated in four full day workshops over 9 months, in which their conversations were audio-taped as they examined for the first time the Australian Professional Standards for Graduate Teachers and sought to unpack these in terms of their own expectations and experiences as mentors and assessors of preservice teachers.

These transcribed conversations were thematically coded and shaped the development of the professional learning site. The study is specifically focused on the professional learning and assessment practices in the professional experience component of teacher preparation. It seeks to contribute to the development of shared understandings of these practices among school teachers, pre-service students and higher education academics in teacher education programs.