Certification Of Teachers, Pre-Service Teacher Education, Tests And Legal Issues: United States’ (US) History And Australian Trends
In Australia, all school teachers are required to have completed teacher education courses, usually four years of study, in higher education institutions. Teachers then gain certification or registration through an appropriate body in their home state or territory. The same body sets professional standards and accredits the teacher education courses. Till now these have been considered appropriate mechanisms for the preparation of quality Australian teachers. In the latest declaration of national goals of schooling,1 the Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers signaled interest in involvement in teacher preservice education. The Commonwealth Government has launched a $50m initiative to 'Improve Teacher Quality' including a 'National Teaching Professional Framework [to] provide nationally agreed and consistent requirements and principles to guide reform in the areas of teacher registration, accreditation of pre-service teacher education courses and accreditation of teachers at the graduate, competent, highly accomplished and lead teacher levels'. Recently, the Queensland Government has supported a recommendation by Dr Geoff Masters, the Director of ACER (Australia's largest test development organisation), that 'aspiring primary teachers be required to demonstrate through test performances, as a condition of registration, that they meet threshold levels of knowledge about the teaching of literacy, numeracy and science and have sound levels of content knowledge in these areas',2 with the Queensland College of Teaching to take responsibility for developing and administering such tests. Given the Commonwealth directions on school testing and the publication of the MySchools website with national test data, it is possible that the Commonwealth agenda to direct teacher preparation may align with the Queensland directions. Teacher competency tests are used in a number of states in the US, and have given rise to a number of legal issues. Such vocational testing requires a higher standard of test quality than testing children on basic competencies. This paper will examine both legal issues that have arisen in case law on teacher competency testing in the US and issues that have arisen in Australian case law in assessment and vocational assessment to prepare teachers, administrators and lawyers for such testing in Australia.
The Teaching Profession: Over Regulated?
Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified