Evaluation of the Implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
"We are on the cusp of a new era of national teacher professionalism and the Standards and their application are integral to that development."
Teacher professional standards provide clarity and focus for what teachers need to know and be able to do in order to deliver high quality teaching and learning. World-class education systems have considered teacher professional standards as a policy mechanism to raise the status of the teaching profession by guiding teacher preparation, developing and retaining exemplary practitioners, and providing a framework for professional growth and development. Although schools and educational organisations in Australia have been using teacher standards as a framework for a variety of initiatives such as teacher performance and development, registration and certification, these standards have differed across jurisdictions.
Successive reforms in recent years have focused on improving the quality and consistency of teachers’ practice. Central to these national reforms is the development and implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Standards). The Standards map the expected professional knowledge, practice and engagement of teachers at varying stages of their careers (Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead). Implementation of the Australian Standards is now being undertaken in every jurisdiction.
AITSL, in collaboration with the Centre for Program Evaluation (CPE) of The University of Melbourne are conducting the Evaluation of the Implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the Evaluation). The purpose of the Evaluation is to assess the usefulness, effectiveness and impact of the implementation of the Standards on teacher quality. It brings together stakeholders from the education profession – teachers, school leaders, pre-service teachers and teacher educators, as well as system leaders and policy makers. The Evaluation will explore a range of perspectives to build understandings regarding the profession's knowledge of, use and attitudes toward the Standards.
In 2013, two major evaluation activities were conducted to assess baseline implementation of the Standards.
The National Forum (June–July 2013) involved 174 participants including policy advisors, high level members of key organisations and education associations, school leaders and practising teachers. The purpose of the Forum was to explore stakeholders' perceptions of the Standards at a national level, including:
The National Survey (October–November 2013) was designed to investigate stakeholders' perceptions of their knowledge of, use of and attitudes towards the Standards. Over 6,000 educational professionals nation-wide participated in the Survey, including teachers, school leaders, pre-service teachers and teacher educators. Nearly 70% of the Survey respondents are working as teachers.
Knowledge of the Standards
Overall, 70% of the survey respondents reported that they had some knowledge of the Standards. Stakeholders' knowledge of the Standards is encouraging given the early stages of implementation. This is important, as knowledge of Standards was identified at the National Forum as a top success factor for effective implementation.
Engagement and Use of the Standards
Frequency of use: 61% of respondents reported that they have engaged with the Standards.
Engagement: Stakeholders use the Standards across a range of activities in their practice. Findings show that they most regularly engage with the Standards to develop the quality of their own teaching, or the teaching of others.
Opportunity to use: 74% of the stakeholders agree that they will have an opportunity to use the Standards in the next six months.
Attitudes toward the Standards and Intentions to Use
Stakeholders were generally positive about the Standards. On average, 82% of the stakeholders expressed positive attitudes towards the Standards. This is encouraging given that positive attitudes are critical for leading and sustaining implementation practices.
The report further expands upon the knowledge of, engagement with and attitudes towards the Standards of each of the stakeholder groups – teachers, school leaders, teacher educators and pre-service teachers.
Initial analysis of the baseline implementation of the Standards reveals that there is a broad knowledge of and engagement with the Standards. These findings are encouraging given the early stage of implementation. Importantly, this suggests that the Standards are starting to be used in ways that may influence teaching practices and student learning.
The next major Evaluation activity will be the 2014 Case Studies. The purpose of the case studies is to explore effective implementation practices in a range of educational settings across Australia. To get involved as a Case Study site visit http://www.aitsl.edu.au/research-and-evaluation/case-studies. Participation can be as an individual site or a consortium. It will involve approximately two days onsite between May and September 2014. Expressions of interest will be accepted between 31 March and 9 May.
Subject HeadingsTeaching profession
Teaching and learning