Education Dean questions minimum ATAR’s in wake of ALP’s call to raise standards

by Jason Roberts

January 18

ATAR levels aren’t necessarily the best predictor of success as a teacher, the President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE), Professor Tania Aspland, has said, questioning the value of over emphasising the importance of Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) levels when selecting teacher education students.

 

Professor Aspland noted “There is no evidence to show that those with higher ATAR’s become better teachers. Non-academic traits are also vitally important in teaching quality” . She added that “a threat to mandate a cap on ATAR’s of 80 may sound like a quick fix but, in reality, fewer than one-in-four students are chosen on the basis of their ATAR alone.”

 

The statement comes in the wake of recent comments made by Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education and Training, signalling that a Labor government would mandate a minimum ATAR level  towards 80 for all prospective teacher education students in a bid to improve quality standards and improve classroom results.

 

In addition, as reported by The Sector yesterday, the ACDE release comes after Victoria announced that 1,367 main round offers have been made to students seeking to enrol in Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) courses.

 

In a bid to ensure quality of teaching standards remained strong, Victoria instigated The Excellence in Teacher Education Reforms, in 2016. A key outcome of this reform was to introduce minimum ATAR levels for applicants, a move which the Victorian government says is aimed at ensuring teaching students in Victoria will be from the top 30 per cent of Year 12 graduates.

 

The selection framework introduces a minimum Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for entry into undergraduate teaching programs initially of 65 for entry in 2018, rising to 70 in 2019.

 

NSW initiated similar reforms in 2016 that continue to be in force today.

 

Australian research has identified seven attributes found in high quality teachers. Read more about them here.

 

The Conversation convened an expert panel to share their thoughts about what makes a good teacher. You can read the panel’s thoughts here.

 

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