Excellence in Research and Research Partnership – Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment Standards and Moderation Project Team
Director of ACU’s Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE) Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith says introducing a Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA) instrument felt something like a Star Trek adventure.
“The mission was to develop a reliable and consistent assessment of teaching performance as part of a robust assessment framework.”
This is essential to give confidence in the competence and readiness of graduates for classroom teaching.”
“Our work is building an evidence base to show the quality of the teacher education graduate leaving the University, the quality of the graduate’s teaching practice and student outcomes.”
Professor Wyatt-Smith leads the GTPA Standards and Moderation Project Team, which has been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Medal For Excellence and Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award for Excellence in Research and Research Partnership.
Alongside Professor Wyatt-Smith, the multi-disciplinary team includes Associate Professor Lenore Adie, Research Partnerships Manager Ms Peta Colbert, Professor Michele Haynes, Research Fellow Dr Anna Du Plessis, Professor Joce Nuttall, Professor Joy Cumming and Senior Scientific Officer Mr Alex Chen.
Professor Michelle Haynes, Ms Peta Colbert, Dr Lenore Adie, Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven, Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Dr Anna Du Plessis and Mr Alex Chen.
Commencing in 2015, the GTPA Standards and Moderation Project has delivered new knowledge and provides, for the first time, valid and reliable evidence of preservice teachers’ readiness for the classroom.
The GTPA is a summative culminating assessment undertaken by preservice teachers in their final-year professional experience placement. The instrument has been endorsed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership for implementation by Australian higher education institutions. Alongside delivering new knowledge, Professor Wyatt-Smith said the program had broken new ground in a range of areas.
We’ve brought together smart technology, smart methodology and a large-scale enterprise across state borders.”
The project has led to a collective of universities from across Australia coming together to focus on the quality and impact of teacher education. The research began in 2016 with the design of the instrument, followed by the trial in 2017 for validation and standard setting. This involved 13 universities working with the research team to establish a minimum standard of preservice teaching performance for graduation. This year the collective of universities has continued to implement the GTPA in teacher education programs, applying the standard and working together to moderate judgements across universities and undertake benchmarking. To date, more than 7000 preservice teachers have undertaken the assessment.
“This is a real first,” Associate Professor Adie said. “Up until the present, we have not undertaken cross-institutional moderation using a common assessment and an expected standard of evidence to determine competence.”
She explained that the project had changed how the universities worked together, leading to new levels of openness and professional accountability in the way information is shared.
“This project has brought together the different universities through one shared purpose.”
The collective, which has now grown to 15 universities, regularly meets via video conference and in person, with resources provided through the GTPA website portal.
Managing the large amounts of data collected by the universities has also required the team to develop innovative digital solutions.
Two years ago, there was no existing platform to serve the collection and analysis methods we needed for the GTPA,” Mr Chen said. “We’ve built it all from the ground up.”
The technology platform has helped the team to effectively store, manage and analyse the data gathered by the collective of universities across Australia.
The capacity to manage such a large volume of data is significant. Teacher education research in Australia and internationally has tended to be dominated by small-scale case studies. In a break with this tradition, the GTPA project has produced a large-scale evidence of graduate readiness.
Breaking new ground in research methodology and technology and bringing together a collective of universities has required the GTPA team to work strategically in partnership.
“Through this project a group of people with very different skills have come together for a concerted effort, dedicated to one endeavour,” Ms Colbert said. “The way we’ve been able to come together with our different perspectives and experiences is a testament to the Institute, supported by the University.”
The team said they were pleased to receive a Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award and recognised the support of the University in making the project possible.
“This award recognises our genuine effort to generate new knowledge that serves young people,” Professor Wyatt-Smith said. “Teacher education is a means to improve outcomes for young people.”
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