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Inside Teaching : June 2010
www.atra.edu.au | email@example.com PROFESSION 17 The Standards will also form the basis for work being undertaken in the areas of accreditation of pre-service teacher education courses, initial teacher registration, and performance appraisal and professional accreditation of teachers at higher levels of professional expertise. Why now? In the years since the 2003 National Framework for Professional Standards for Teaching was endorsed by Australia's education ministers as part of continuing efforts to define and promote quality teaching, we've seen the emergence of the national productivity agenda, new collaborative arrangements and partnerships through the Council of Australian Governments and the 2008 launch of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. It is timely to update the 2003 Framework. New national standards are also an important component of reforms under the National Partnership on Improving Teacher Quality signed by all Australian governments in November 2008. Most recently, the development of the first phase of the national curriculum has sharpened community and professional interest in what is taught, and how, in the nation's schools. The most important school-based factor in improving outcomes for students is the quality of their teachers. How are the standards being developed? Work began in January 2009 to develop new national professional standards for teachers, with extensive work undertaken by educational specialist consultants and an expert working group, with representatives from both the government and non-government school sectors. The draft Standards were developed through mapping and analysis of research, and of standards in use by teacher registration and accreditation authorities, employers and professional associations in Australia. The consultation, conducted from March to May, invited members of the teaching profession and the general public to comment on the draft Standards. Consultation activities were conducted in states and territories by education authorities, employers, teacher regulators and professional associations. As Chair of the National Standards Sub-group Peter Dawkins notes, 'The consultation process has been broad, throwing up a range of feedback -- not all of which is consistent. The National Standards Sub-group values all feedback provided by members of the profession and education sector stakeholders.' What is the role of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership? The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) was established in January this year to provide national leadership for the Commonwealth, state and territory governments in promoting excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership. An early and important part of this work, says AITSL Chair Anthony Mackay, has been to support the national consultation on the draft National Professional Standards for Teachers. 'AITSL has supported consultation on the draft Standards through discussions with national professional associations and directly with teachers nominated by government, Catholic and independent school sectors from around Australia,' Mackay says. What are the next steps? Following the consultation period, all feedback is now being taken into account by an expert working group. It's expected that this process will lead to the further refinement of the draft Standards that are to be passed to AITSL for validation. The validation process will be undertaken to assure the appropriateness and reliability of the Standards and will involve large numbers of teachers from across the country. In particular, the process will test whether the same outcomes are likely to be achieved with different groups of teachers across primary and secondary schools, as well as across government, Catholic and independent school settings. AITSL will make announcements about the validation process in the near future. When? 'AITSL intends to provide a recommendation to education ministers through MCEECDYA by the end of 2010,' Mackay says. ■ Shaun Rohrlach is Manager of Communications for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. LINKS www.aitsl.edu.au The views expressed here do not represent the views of the Publisher or Editor, nor do they represent the views or policies of ATRA or the teacher registration and accreditation authorities that are party to it.