Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia

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1 aitsl.edu.au Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia Frequently Asked Questions Standards and Procedures April 2011

2 1. What are the Standards and Procedures for the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia? The Standards and Procedures for the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia (Standards and Procedures) outline what an initial teacher education program needs to do to prepare teachers to teach in Australian schools, and to meet the National Professional Standards for Teachers at the Graduate career stage. The Standards and Procedures contain three elements: the graduate teacher standards, which make explicit what graduates of nationally accredited programs should know and be able to do the program standards, which describe key features of high quality initial teacher education programs the accreditation process, which sets out a nationally consistent process for accrediting programs, including establishment and composition of assessment panels, the assessment of programs by these panels, and reporting accreditation decisions. Graduates of programs accredited under the Standards and Procedures will meet the nationally recognised qualifications requirement for registration as teachers. 2. What is the purpose of these standards and procedures? Teaching is a demanding profession, and initial teacher education is the foundation on which quality teaching is built. The accreditation of initial teacher education programs is designed to improve teacher quality and has two key objectives: continuous improvement of initial teacher education, and accountability of providers for their delivery of quality teacher education programs based on transparent and rigorous standards and accreditation processes. The Standards and Procedures provide a framework that outlines what constitutes quality in initial teacher education and offers direction and structure to guide the development of initial teacher education programs. They present a common understanding and language and allow for professional discussions between teachers, principals, teacher educators, professional associations and the public. In this way the Standards and Procedures contribute to raising the status of the profession. 3. Why a national approach to accreditation of initial teacher education programs? While initial teacher education in Australia has developed a reputation for excellence, a national approach will assure high level consistent quality across the country. The national approach will see programs being assessed against common, rigorous standards using an agreed national accreditation process. 4. How were the Standards and Procedures developed? The Standards and Procedures were developed through extensive national work drawing on the expert knowledge of a number of key stakeholders and organisations involved in initial teacher education. They are the culmination of a long history of development over at least a decade. This initial work was followed by extensive consultation on a draft proposal in September 2010 to provide all interested parties with the opportunity to shape the development, content and structure of the standards and procedures for the accreditation of initial teacher education in Australia. Stakeholder responses were collected through consultation forums, an online survey, and written submissions. Written submissions were received from the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and their regulatory authorities, universities and other initial teacher education providers, education unions, professional peak bodies, parent groups, and interested individuals. In total 63 submissions including consolidated and joint submissions were received. 1 Initial Teacher Education Program Accreditation

3 All submissions have been published, except in cases where the author(s) had indicated they wished their submission to remain confidential. The report on the outcomes of the consultation undertaken in September 2010 can be accessed at verve/_resources/aitsl_preservice Consultation_Report.pdf. 5. When will the Standards and Procedures be introduced? The timetable for transition to the new process will be negotiated with universities, States and Territories, jurisdictions and regulatory authorities. Given lead times for the introduction of new courses, the first new nationally accredited programs are likely to commence delivery in the 2013 academic year. Existing programs will continue to be accredited for the period of their current accreditation, allowing for a phased transition to the new process. 6. Will the focus on standards mean that all university programs will be the same? The introduction of the Standards and Procedures for initial teacher education programs is intended to ensure that all programs produce graduates who meet the same high standards. The program standards in particular are designed to preserve the capacity for programs to be flexible and innovative in how they prepare graduate teachers who are ready to enter the teaching profession by meeting the Graduate career stage of the National Professional Standards for Teachers. 7. How will the commitment to taking entrants to teacher education from the top 30% of the population work? Many of the world s best performing education systems draw their teachers from the ranks of the highest performing school students. The national approach to accreditation of initial teacher education takes Australia in this direction by committing that entrants to initial teacher education will have literacy and numeracy levels equivalent to the top 30% of the population. Because of differences in Year 12 certificates across Australia, the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) will need to work closely with individual States and Territories to determine what the appropriate benchmarks are for Year 12 achievement in each jurisdiction. Not all entrants to initial teacher education come straight from school. AITSL will work with the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE) to develop assessments of literacy and numeracy for other entrants to initial teacher education programs. Where students are not meeting the expected literacy and numeracy standards, teacher education providers will need to make sure that their courses address this through compensatory programs, and that all students have high standards of literacy and numeracy on graduation. 8. Why does the new approach require two year graduate entry programs? Teaching is a demanding profession, and initial teacher education is the foundation on which quality teaching is built. Extensive consultation with groups involved in teacher education has confirmed that, for people who already have a degree, it takes the equivalent of two years worth of study to cover all the content required by new teachers, including longer placements in schools. Nearly half of all existing graduate-entry programs are already two years or more. Initial Teacher Education Program Accreditation 2

4 9. How do these Standards and Procedures apply to programs preparing early childhood teachers? The national approach to accreditation of initial teacher education is designed to support the preparation of teachers for the important job of teaching our youngest children. AITSL will work closely with the new Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) as it is established, to ensure requirements for teacher qualifications are consistent across schools and early childhood settings. 10. How will this new approach impact on existing initial teacher education programs and the current system? Currently accredited programs will maintain their accreditation status until the expiry of their current accreditation. Providers may seek to negotiate the re-accreditation dates of some programs with their jurisdiction s regulatory authority, for example to enable the concurrent accreditation of a number of programs. This will allow for a phased transition to the new approach over a number of years. In cases where accreditation/re-accreditation of initial teacher education programs has already commenced, it should be finalised under existing processes. New accreditations/re-accreditations will be undertaken under the new national system for programs to be delivered in 2013 or later. 11. What is the relationship between the National Professional Standards for Teachers and the Standards and Procedures for the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia? The graduate teacher standards describe the professional knowledge, practice and engagement at the first of the four career stages defined in the National Professional Standards for Teachers. Because they define what graduate teachers should know and be able to do upon graduation from an initial teacher education program, providers need to provide evidence of how their graduates meet, or will meet, the graduate teacher standards for programs in order to be accredited. 12. What is the role of state and territory regulatory authorities in this new approach to accreditation? The new approach will build on current processes. Program accreditation will continue to be undertaken by the appropriate state and territory authorities. However they will now do this using a single set of graduate teacher standards and program standards and using agreed national accreditation processes. 3 Initial Teacher Education Program Accreditation

5 aitsl.edu.au Telephone: Fax: Melbourne Brisbane Canberra Funded by the Australian Government

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