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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
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.
All names are pseudonyms.
Allard, A., & Santoro, N. (2008). Experienced teachers’ perspectives on cultural and social class diversity: Which differences matter? Equity and Excellence in Education, 41(2), 200–214.
Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership. (2011a). Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures. Carlton, Victoria: Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA).
Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership. (2011b). National Professional Standard for Principals. Carlton, VIC: Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA).
Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership. (2011c). National Professional Standards for Teachers. Carlton, VIC: Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA).
Bullough, R. V, Jr. (2012). Against best practice: uncertainty, outliers and local studies in educational research. Journal of Education for Teaching, 38(3), 343–357.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Fries, M. (2005). Researching teacher education in changing times: Politics and paradigms. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Connell, R. W. (2009). Good teachers on dangerous ground: towards a new view of teacher quality and professionalism. Critical Studies in Education, 50(3), 213–229.
Courneya, C., Pratt, D., & Collins, J. (2008). Through what perspective do we judge the teaching of peers? Perspectives on teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 69–79.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Assessing teacher education: The usefulness of multiple measures for assessing teacher outcomes. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(2), 120–138.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2013). Getting teacher evaluation right: What really matters for effectiveness and improvement. New York: Teachers College Press.
Darling-Hammond, L., & Snyder, J. (2000). Authentic assessment of teaching in context. Teaching and Teacher Education, 16(5–6), 523–545.
Deakin University. (2012). Deakin authentic teacher assessment (ATA) handbook: Master of Teaching EPR 703 reflecting on practice in professional experience. Burwood: Faculty of Arts and Education, School of Education.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). New directions for school leadership and the teaching profession. Melbourne VIC: Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD).
Dixon, M., Mayer, D., Gallant, A., & Allard, A. (2011). Authentically assessing beginning teaching: Professional standards and teacher performance assessment. A project funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Education and the Victorian Institute of Teaching.
Fairclough, N. (2000). Language and Neo-liberalism. Discourse and Society, 11(7), 147–148.
Fairclough, N., & Wodak, R. (1997). Critical discourse analysis. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse studies: A multidisciplinary introduction. Discourse as social interaction (Vol. 2). London: Sage Publications.
Graham, P., & Luke, A. (2013). Critical discourse analysis and political economy of communication: Understanding the new corporate order. In R. Wodak (Ed.), Critical discourse analysis: Concepts, history, theory (pp. 103–130). London: Sage Publications.
Kennedy, A., & Doherty, R. (2012). Professionalism and partnership: Panaceas for teacher education in Scotland? Journal of Education Policy,. doi:10.1080/02680939.2012.682609.
Larsen, M. (2010). Troubling the discourse of teacher centrality: a comparative perspective. Journal of Education Policy, 25(2), 207–231.
Louden, W. (2008). 101 Damnations: the persistence of criticism and the absence of evidence about teacher education in Australia. Teachers and teaching: Theory and practice, 14(4), 357–368.
MacLure, M. (2003). Discourse in educational and social research. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD). (2005). Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Final report—Teachers matter. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Pecheone, R., & Chung, R. (2006). Evidence in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(1), 22–36.
Sim, C., Freiberg, J., White, S., Allard, A., Le Cornu, R., & Carter, B. (2012). Using professional standards: Assessing work integrated learning in initial teacher education. Retrieved from http://www.teacherevidence.net. Accessed 29 Jan 2013.
St. Maurice, H., & Shaw, P. (2004). Teacher portfolios come of age: A Preliminary Study. NAASP Bulletin, 88, 15–25.
The State of Queensland (Queensland College of Teachers). (2012). An investigation of best practice in evidence-based assessment within preservice teacher education programs and other professions. Brisbane: Queensland College of Teachers.
Townsend, T., & Bates, R. (Eds.). (2007). Handbook of teacher education: Globalization, standards and professionalism in times of change. Dordrecht: Springer.
Tuinamuana, K. (2011). Teacher professional standards, accountability, and ideology: Alternative Discourses. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(12). Article 6.
Victorian Institute of Teaching. (2007). Preparing future teachers: The standards, guidelines and process for the accreditation of pre-service teacher education courses. Melbourne, Vic: Victorian Institute of Teaching.
Wiseman, D. (2012). The intersection of policy, reform, and teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(2), 87–91.
Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college- and University-based teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 89–99.
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Authentic teacher assessment
- Capstone assessment
- Graduate teaching professional standards
- Initial teacher education
- Quality teaching