Deans of education makes the case for alternatives to the ATAR

The Australian Council of Deans of Education has broken cover to defend the way they select initial teacher education students. A new report by ACDE deputy chair John Williamson (University of Tasmania) and colleagues addresses academic and non-academic selection in the context of reports on lifting ITE entry  by the government’s Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, which commissioned work by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

Professor Williamson and colleagues find;

* institutions “are consistent and not ad hoc in their use of bonus points and targeted approaches, which provide additional student support”

* “have rigorous entry requirements, but see the ITE course as important in refining the qualities and dispositions of the pre-service students”

* “regularly review their entry approaches and mechanisms”

* “see the need” to raise the status of teaching as a career

The essence of the ATAR argument is outlined by an anonymous dean quoted in the report.

“I actually don’t think we need to attract the best of the best. We actually have to attract people who are intellectually capable, who do understand the intellectual side of the work of teaching. But I think we also have to attract people who have the potential to develop the capabilities that we understand make a successful teacher…your capability as a learner and a problem solver, a capability to be innovative, to be responsive, to have good interpersonal skills…but you also need to have intellectual acuity, you’ve got to be able to think well, you’ve got to be able to draw on a whole lot of information and make informed judgments…an ATAR can be one way of doing that, but it’s not the only way.”

This is a strong response to the only-the-ATAR argument. “Teachers need emotional intelligence as well as subject-knowledge” a learned reader remarks.


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