The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 255–276 | Cite as

The development of a situational judgement test of personal attributes for quality teaching in rural and remote Australia

  • Tracy L. Durksen
  • Robert M. Klassen


Education authorities in Australia are calling for valid tools to help assess prospective teachers’ non-academic attributes, with a particular need for identifying those attributes necessary for effective teaching in specific contexts. With the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education, we aimed to develop a scenario-based tool to help assess the non-academic attributes necessary for beginning teachers working in rural and remote settings. Using a situational judgement test (SJT) methodology, we worked with experienced teachers (n = 19) to develop scenario-based items, which were then reviewed by school principals (n = 13). The teachers also adapted items previously developed and piloted in the UK. Next, prospective NSW teachers (n = 99) tried 32 new and adapted items targeting four clusters of attributes: empathy and communication, resilience and adaptability, organisation and planning, and culture and context. Item quality analyses revealed 22 acceptable items. We conclude by suggesting SJTs for promoting non-academic growth of prospective and beginning teachers.


Rural teaching Personal characteristics Non-academic attributes Teacher recruitment Teacher retention Critical incidents 



We gratefully acknowledge the assistance provided by Lisa Kim (University of York, UK) and the consistent dedication and commitment shown by our team of collaborators at the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education. In particular, we are grateful for the help provided by Mark Anderson, Ian Quintos, John Wilson, and Veronica Willmott of the Human Resources Directorate. We also express our utmost thanks to the NSW teachers and principals who shared their insights and expertise and to the pilot study participants for their time and feedback.


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesUNSW SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of YorkYorkUK

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