Assessment for Graduate Teaching
Consortium Project LeadProfessor Janet Clinton
The Assessment for Graduate Teaching (AfGT) is an approved Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) instrument developed and implemented by a consortium of Australian higher education providers that have Initial Teacher Education (ITE) faculties or schools. The AfGT is designed to capture the sophisticated intellectual work of teaching and enable pre-service teachers to demonstrate the various ways in which they can meet the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (Graduate level). The AfGT is the result of collegial and collaborative actions of Consortium members, who worked—and who continue to work—together on every step in developing, implementing and evaluating the instrument.
The AfGT is a culminating assessment of teacher performance, employing multiple measures to evaluate a pre-service teacher’s teaching and professional decision making. In following sound design and measurement principles, the AfGT utilises multiple forms of data and evidence, and is subject to continuous improvement processes.
The AfGT assesses most, but not all, of the Australian Professional Standard for Teachers. The Matrix of Graduate Teacher Standard Descriptors against Elements of the AfGT (Word, 21Kb) provides a summary of the standards that are assessed in the AfGT. The Standards that are not assessed in the AfGT will be assessed elsewhere in the course of study. A number of standards are assessed on more than one occasion, such as Graduate Teacher Standard 1.2, which requires the pre-service teacher to “demonstrate their knowledge of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching” (AITSL, 2012). This is intentional, for it emphasises the importance of these Standards in the process of teaching.
In 2016, following the recommendations of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG, 2014), the Australian Commonwealth Government requested that the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) assist initial teacher education providers with developing and introducing teaching performance assessment tools with the objective of ensuring:
- a more robust and consistent assessment of students who have undergone initial teacher education; and
- greater quality assurance of initial teacher education.
The AfGT AT A GLANCE
Four elements have been designed, trialled and consequently refined, to generate an assessment instrument that represents a robust, comprehensive and authentic series of tasks that reflect teaching.
The Four Elements are:
- Element 1: Planning for learning and teaching
- Element 2: Analysing teaching practice
- Element 3: Assessing for impact on student learning
- Element 4: Expanding practice.
Developed in a Consortium of leading Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers across Australia, the AfGT is designed with the input and collaboration of all stakeholders and is committed to:
- Genuine national applicability (the AfGT is flexible and adaptable in its design to cater for the specificities of each context), and
- Shared responsibility and a collaborative approach to the design and implementation.
All elements are completed by the pre-service teacher and are assessed by Initial Teacher Education faculty.
The AfGT instrument was designed and trialled during 2017 across the Consortium’s ITE institutions. View a condensed report of the results of the trial (Pdf, 694Kb).
Following the trial, moderation and evaluation of the administration of the instrument, the Four Elements of the AfGT were re-designed in readiness for the commencement of the 2018 academic year.
In 2018, the AfGT has ‘gone live’ in schools in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Cross-institutional moderation and further standard-setting workshops will occur on two occasions during the year. These workshops will also consider evaluations undertaken by stakeholders so that the AfGT’s fidelity and administration are continuously improved.
Governance and roles
The ongoing governance of the Consortium is designed so that there is an equitable structure with sufficient governance and oversight to protect the interest of Consortium members and ensure the success of the project.
Oversight body to set the AfGT Consortium’s objectives and strategic direction and to review the AfGT’s development and implementation progress towards achieving those objectives.
Governance Executive Group
Assessment & Measurement Committee
Responsible for moderation and standard-setting and evaluation of the AfGT’s effectiveness and fidelity.
Ethics & Privacy Committee
Responsible for the application and management of ethics approval and ensuring privacy considerations have been adequately addressed by the AfGT.
Implementation & Improvement Committee
Responsible for ensuring the AfGT is implemented with fidelity including reviewing and developing modifications to meet changing needs.
Promotions & Induction Committee
Responsible for external stakeholder engagement, recruitment and induction of new member institutions to the Consortium and review and co-ordination of media and other external communication platforms.
Research & Publications Committee
Responsible for managing cross-institutional joint research initiatives, publication and other publicly available information including conference presentations.
External Engagement Advisory Groups on an ad hoc basis.
Responsible for providing advice and feedback about specific aspects of the AfGT that relate to their expertise.
About the Consortium
The Consortium represents the diversity of Initial Teacher Education programs in Australian higher education providers in terms of geography, student population, program types (undergraduate, postgraduate), course offerings and delivery modes. The following institutions are members of the AfGT Consortium.
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
The University of Melbourne
College of Education
Charles Darwin University
School of Education
School of Education
Federation University Australia
Sydney School of Education and Social Work
The University of Sydney
Graduate School of Education
The University of Western Australia
Faculty of Education
The University of Canberra
The School of International Studies and Education
University of Technology Sydney
College of Arts and Education
Teaching and Education Courses
Excelsia College Sydney
Teacher Training Courses
Southern Cross Education
Southern Cross Education Institute, Higher Education
School of Education
The University of Adelaide
Frequently Asked Questions
To which of the Australian Program Standards does a Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) apply?
A teaching performance assessment (TPA) is an instrument used to assess the practical skills and knowledge of pre-service teachers against the Graduate Teacher Standards in the final year of their initial teacher education program.
Program Standard 1.2 requires that a TPA be situated in a classroom environment in order to demonstrate a range of authentic teaching practices. The TPA must be a requirement of successful completion of the program and must be completed during the final year.
Why are Teaching Performance Assessments being introduced?
The Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) identified a number of opportunities to improve the quality of graduating pre-service teachers. Before graduation, all pre-service teachers (regardless of their program or mode of study) must reach the Graduate Career Stage of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The introduction of a TPA before pre-service teachers complete their ITE program will form part of the process to ensure they meet that standard.
Has the AfGT been assessed by AITSL’s Expert Panel?
The Expert Panel found the evidence provided by the Consortium demonstrates that the AfGT is a valid method for assessing whether a teacher’s performance meets the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the Graduate Teacher level.
The panel noted that this is a very well designed and executed project. The Expert Panel endorses the AfGT as meeting the requirements of Standard 1.2 of the National Program Standards at this time.
What does ‘classroom ready’ mean?
According to the CEO of AITSL, Ms Lisa Rogers (2018, May 30), “no matter where a student completes an ITE course in Australia, the number one focus needs to remain on supporting a pre-service teacher’s practice, skills and knowledge so that the highest quality graduates are entering the profession, ready to teach from day one.”
This means that graduate teachers must be able to demonstrate the complex skills, knowledge and capabilities required for teaching. Once they enter the profession, graduate teachers must then be supported to continue to develop their capabilities so that they are able to reach proficiency.
How much does the AfGT cost?
Because the AfGT is embedded within the subjects that the PST studies, there are no additional costs associated with administering the AfGT. Institutions that join the AfGT Consortium will incur an annual membership fee based on number of PSTs on a sliding scale.
Who is responsible for assessing the AfGT?
Teacher educators from the PST’s university are responsible for assessing the AfGT. (See also ‘What is the role of University Teacher Educators?’)
Does the PST need to pass all four elements of the AfGT?
Yes, it is a requirement that all four elements must be passed in order for the PST to satisfactorily complete the AfGT.
What happens if a PST fails either the AfGT or the professional experience placement?
The AfGT does not take the place of the mentor teacher’s placement report/s, but exists as a companion assessment of the PST’s ability to plan, teach and assess the impact on students’ learning.
The PST must pass both the mentor teacher’s placement report and the AfGT. Institutions will have identified plans in their accreditation documents regarding the processes that they follow in their institution for PSTs who fail practice-related components of their course.
Will introducing the AfGT to schools lead to more work for teachers?
The introduction of TPAs in schools won’t necessarily mean more work for schools that take pre-service teachers, but more likely a difference in some aspects of the professional experience process.
What is the role of the Mentor Teacher who supervises the PST while on placement?
The role of the Mentor Teacher is to support the PST during professional experience placement by:
- Providing advice on lesson planning and preparation.
- Observing teaching and providing feedback through professional conversations and written feedback.
- Preparing placement reports, including the final practicum placement report.
As the PST’s teaching performance will also be assessed through the AfGT, mentor teachers will indirectly have a role in supporting the PST to undertake the AfGT during their final practicum placement. The PST is ultimately responsible for completing this summative, capstone teaching performance assessment.
What is the role of the School’s Professional Experience Co-ordinator?
The school’s professional experience co-ordinator will be principally involved in supporting mentor teachers who are supervising pre-service teachers who are on their final placement in the school.
Their role is very similar to that of the mentor teacher, and it is possible that the school’s professional experience co-ordinator might also participate in the moderation of school students’ work, as required in Element 3.
The school’s professional experience co-ordinator will be the school’s main point of contact with the university and will be well-placed to advise on how the mentor teacher’s report and the PST’s progress through the AfGT align with each other.
What is the role of the School Principal?
The role of the School Principal in the research component of the AfGT is to consider permitting the research to proceed in their school in accordance with the ethics protocols approved by The University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee and from all of the Departments of Education in jurisdictions in which the AfGT is used.
What is the role of University Teacher Educators?
The role of the teacher educator is to support PSTs to successfully complete professional experience placements and related assessment tasks, including the AfGT.
Given the significance of the AfGT as a summative, capstone teaching performance assessment, the role of the teacher educator is to ensure that PSTs understand all aspects of the AfGT.
The teacher educator supporting PSTs will also indicate ways in which the University will support PSTs during placement and on campus.
The teacher educator will also be responsible for assessing the AfGT, and participating in within-institution and cross-institution moderation of assessments.
What is the role of the University Professional Experience Personnel?
The university’s professional experience personnel will be principally involved in ensuring that schools are aware that the AfGT is the assessment instrument that PSTs will be addressing during and following their placement, and that it exists as an additional assessment instrument alongside the mentor teacher’s final report.
The university’s professional experience co-ordinator will be ensuring that the school principal has received the documentation enabling them to consider providing their consent for the school to participate in the research aspect of the AfGT.
Does the AfGT assess all of the Professional Standards for Teachers?
The AfGT assesses most, but not all, of the Graduate Teacher Standards. Refer to the Matrix of Graduate Teacher Standard Descriptors against Elements of the AfGT (Word, 21Kb) for a summary. The standards that are not assessed in the AfGT must be taught, practised and assessed elsewhere in the course of study.
A number of standards are assessed on more than one occasion, such as Graduate Teacher Standard 1.2, which requires the pre-service teacher to “demonstrate their knowledge of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching” (AITSL, 2012). This is intentional, for it emphasises the importance of these Standards in the process of teaching.
What changes to our Initial Teacher Education program need to occur?
Program Standard 1.1 (AITSL 2016, p. 6) requires that “pre-service teachers demonstrate successful performance against all of the Graduate Teacher Standards prior to graduation”.
As shown in the Matrix of Graduate Teacher Standard Descriptors against Elements of the AfGT (Word, 21Kb), the AfGT, as an assessment of teaching performance, assesses twenty-six of the thirty-seven Graduate Teacher Standards, which means that institutions must provide opportunities for the outstanding eleven standards to be taught, practised and assessed elsewhere in the PST’s course of study.