Improving teacher training by measuring student success

Australia looks to hold teacher training centers accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce

Go to the profile of Alan Woodruff
Feb 23, 2017
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The quality of teachers is consistently rated one of the most important determinants of school performance. In Australia, where student performance in international school assessments has declined in recent years, the quality of teachers is being questioned. Now, experts are calling for Government to hold teacher training centers accountable - and the Government is listening. Specifically, the proposal is for student performance to be linked not only with their teacher, but also with the place at which the teacher was trained. This should help to identify which teacher education programs work well and which perform poorly, information that can then be used to determine accreditation status.

A news article covering the move can be found here.

I'd be interested to know what our readers think of this development. Are similar measures implemented in other countries? Have they proven successful? How practical is it to implement a policy like this?

Go to the profile of Alan Woodruff

Alan Woodruff

Community Editor, Queensland Brain Institute

1 Comments

Go to the profile of  Charlotte Pezaro
Charlotte Pezaro 6 months ago

Let's also jail the parents of adults who commit crimes. Oh, and any law school whose graduate lawyers commit malpractice, or medical school whose graduate doctors have patients that die. Oh, and any dentists... I could go on. Perhaps there are people who actually agree with these approaches. How frightening.

In Australia, we have teacher education, not teacher training. We educate preservice teachers in the theories, frameworks, and fields relating to education and teaching, so that they are empowered to make their own decisions regarding why, how, and when to teach students. Admittedly, once they graduate, they are immediately disempowered to make many decisions at all by the sheer weight of policy and procedures about what and how they must teach, dictated by 'experts,' and never mind the why.

Teacher educators and education institutions are not employing bodies. Graduating education students are at the beginning of their learning journey, not the end. The employing bodies must bear the responsibility, in partnership with other institutions and teachers themselves, to provide professional development, mentorship, and coaching to beginning and establishing teachers. Just as health organisations, legal companies, etc, bear the responsibility alongside their doctors, lawyers, etc.

The 'teacher quality' and 'reform' narratives have been around for a long time, and have contributed substantially to the erosion of education policy and practices. They are unhelpful narratives. The countries where those narratives have been established are rapidly sinking in the international 'measures' that advocates of these ideological policies worship so faithfully.

Until our education system is actually equitable, any program that attempts to do what has been suggested in this article will be inherently flawed. It is about equitable funding, first and foremost, whatever Hattie might say.