A revolution is taking place across four Victorian universities, including La Trobe, where student teachers are now required to pass a rigorous new assessment in order to graduate.
La Trobe University, Australian Catholic University (ACU), Federation University and RMIT have implemented the ACU-designed Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA) in response to demand for assuring the quality of graduates entering Australian classrooms.
The GTPA is an assessment endorsed for national implementation. It captures the practice of the pre-service teacher in a ‘real-life’ school setting and requires a minimum of four weeks’ sustained placement in schools.
It assesses entry-level teachers’ overall capacity to plan, teach, assess and reflect on their practice, and provides them with the opportunity to demonstrate their impact on student learning.
The GTPA was endorsed by a national expert advisory group, convened by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.
La Trobe University’s Head of Department of Education, Associate Professor Joanna Barbousas, said, “The GTPA Collective of higher education institutions is a community where best practice models are shared among universities to promote this best practice at a national scale.”
The GTPA’s development was led by ACU’s Director of the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith.
Professor Wyatt-Smith said, “The public can have confidence that student teachers who pass the GTPA and go into our classrooms have met the standard.”
“The GTPA has promoted a new culture in initial teacher education in which teacher educators from across six states and territories collaborate in scoring and moderating GTPAs against the common standard. This is a significant break from business as usual in Australian education.
“It’s very different from LANTITE, which measures the teacher’s personal literacy and numeracy because the GTPA focuses on the teacher’s ability to teach literacy and numeracy”.
Federation University Associate Dean Teaching Quality Associate Professor Jenene Burke said, “Many of our students who completed the GTPA have commented on how it requires them to apply all of their years of learning at university into one real-life teaching assessment.”
“On completion of the GTPA they say they feel more prepared to start teaching and more confident in their teaching.
“We have always been confident in the abilities of our beginning teachers but we now have a way of comparing teacher-readiness across the teacher education universities in the GTPA collective.”
RMIT’s Program Manager Master of Teaching Practice (Primary & Secondary) Dr Alison Lugg said, “Being part of a national collective of universities undertaking the GTPA was important to RMIT because it supports collaboration and cross-institutional moderation which maintains consistent standards.”
“The main benefits for students are the integration of theory and practice in a ‘real-life’ setting.”
A total of 14 universities across Australia have implemented the GTPA. More than 7,000 preservice teachers across the collaborating universities have now completed the assessment.
Preservice teachers must pass the GTPA in order to graduate.