Page 832 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 18 March 2015

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The institute was key to the development of a common professional experience assessment tool that is now used by both local universities to ensure a consistent and rigorous assessment of classroom readiness.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how important is the requirement of ongoing professional learning to ensuring continued best practice in teaching?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her question. We know that continuing professional development is the hallmark of any profession. In teaching, the learning profession, continuing learning is fundamental to teachers maintaining their currency of knowledge and practice. Teachers must be responsive to new research, evaluative data and the particular learning needs of their students.

Ongoing professional learning is a requirement of the annual renewal of teacher registration. The TQI professional learning framework enables teachers to get the most out of their professional learning. Teachers identify their own professional learning needs and goals appropriate for their career stage. They engage in a range of professional learning activities that directly go to the practice of teaching.

More than simply engaging in professional learning, teachers must record and reflect on the professional learning they undertake, assessing its impact on their practice. The TQI mantra is “continuing learning, reflective practice, professional growth”. Research shows that, at its most effective, professional learning develops the individual and collective capacity of teachers across the school, within a culture of shared responsibility for enhancing student learning as the contingency of success.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how will your decision to enforce a mandatory literacy and numeracy test for all those seeking to work in ACT public schools give parents confidence in the quality of teachers in ACT government schools?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in this. Modelling high expectations is important to the learning process. I believe that it is crucial that our teachers are capable of modelling high standards of literacy and numeracy for our students. Our community expects this of our teachers.

Education ministers agreed, when approving the national accreditation processes for initial teacher undergraduate programs, that personal literacy and numeracy for graduates from initial teacher education programs should be broadly equivalent to the top 30 per cent of the population.

The Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership was tasked with the development of an appropriate test to be used by universities. I chose to move earlier than the national implementation time line. I asked the directorate to work with AITSL to trial the new assessment tool with new teacher recruits in 2014. The test will apply more broadly to applicants this year, prior to national implementation next year.

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