Teaching students are required to pass a literacy and numeracy test with a score that puts them in the top 30 percent of the Australian adult population. Does it amount to anything?
In 2018, 90.4 percent of teaching students met the literacy standard and 90 percent of students met the numeracy benchmark.
Victoria was the first state to prevent teaching students who failed or missed the mark on these tests from teaching in schools. By 2020, all states will follow suit. It’s a controversial move, particularly as the tests are based on Year 9 NAPLAN exams. Being a good teacher comes down to more than baseline skill in two learning areas but it seems the federal government is dead-set on following the initiative through.
This week, Minister for Education Dan Tehan released a statement saying that the test was working as intended by ensuring that graduate teachers had a high level of the essential skills needed to teach children.
“Our Government recognises the difference high quality teachers make to a child’s education. That is why we introduced a mandatory literacy and numeracy benchmark for teaching graduates. As the latest test results show, ensuring teachers meet the prerequisite standard is as important as ever.
“We have also introduced a high-quality teaching performance assessment that students must pass prior to graduation that demonstrates graduate teachers are classroom ready.
“Our Government will also ensure phonics is included in university teaching courses so that new teachers can use it in the classroom as well as investing $15 million in Teach for Australia to train more high-achieving teachers.
“Higher education providers need to take responsibility for the teaching students that do not meet the standards by ensuring they receive additional support to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. The onus is on universities to ensure the graduates they are producing meet the high standards expected by parents and the standards that our children deserve.
“In September I wrote to all vice-chancellors to remind them of their obligations to support students they enter into initial teacher education degrees to meet the test standard.”