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Authentically assessing graduate teaching: outside and beyond neo-liberal constructs

Abstract

In this paper, we challenge the current focus on ‘best practice’, graduate teacher tests, and student test scores as the panacea for ensuring teaching quality and argue for ways of thinking about evidence of quality beginning teaching outside and beyond the current neoliberal accountability discourses circulating in Australia and other countries. We suggest that teacher educators need to reinsert themselves as key players in the debates around quality beginning teaching, rather than being viewed as a source of the problem. To enable teacher educators to assume accountability for quality beginning teachers, we propose the framework of a capstone teacher performance assessment—a structured portfolio called the Authentic Teacher Assessment (ATA)—and examine examples of these assessments through the lens of critical discourse analysis. As a measure of ‘readiness to teach’, the ATA is compared with supervising teachers’ assessments of preservice teachers. We argue that structured portfolios that include artefacts derived from preservice teachers’ practice in classrooms along with graduate teacher self assessments provide a stronger accountability measure of effective beginning teaching and demonstrably address the current anxiety regarding ‘evidence’. We suggest that such an approach should be reliable enough to be ‘read’ by external assessors (and moderated across other teacher education institutions). Rigorous research on a national basis is called for in order to develop and implement a structured portfolio as rich evidence of graduates’ quality and readiness to teach.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Master of Teaching—Early Childhood has been offered as part of the course from 2012 onwards. However, because the data assessed here is from 2011, no ATAs completed by candidates in the Early Childhood strand are analysed as part of this paper.

  2. 2.

    All names are pseudonyms.

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Correspondence to Julianne Moss.

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Allard, A.C., Mayer, D. & Moss, J. Authentically assessing graduate teaching: outside and beyond neo-liberal constructs. Aust. Educ. Res. 41, 425–443 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-013-0140-x

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Keywords

  • Authentic teacher assessment
  • Capstone assessment
  • Graduate teaching professional standards
  • Initial teacher education
  • Quality teaching