Should graduating teachers be required to undergo a literacy and numeracy test to ensure they meet the required standard? This question was posed in The Australian newspaper, Feb 27 2014. (see article below) The question was relating to graduate teachers but in light of the national focus on literacy levels is this not a relevant question/request for all teachers, trainers and assessors?
Post your thoughts here!
UNIVERSITIES are under no obligation to test graduates of teaching courses to ensure they meet required standards in literacy and numeracy.
The Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership is developing a test to measure the level of literacy and numeracy skills among graduates of education faculties, which must be in the top 30 per cent of the population for the university course to be accredited.
AITSL general manager Edmund Misson yesterday told a Senate budget estimates committee that state and territory education ministers had agreed that universities should only graduate teaching students in the top 30 per cent.
But Mr Misson said the accreditation standards only required universities to demonstrate that graduate students met the benchmark to an expert panel but not necessarily by using a test.
Outside the hearing, AITSL chief executive Margery Evans told The Australian that universities could set their own tests or use tertiary entrance scores to satisfy the requirement, or provide other evidence that the standards are reached “but it would have to be pretty convincing’’.
“We absolutely need a rigorous process to assure ourselves, the community and everybody else that our teachers do have an appropriate level of personal literacy and numeracy,’ Ms Evans said.
“Whether that’s a test or something else is really up for grabs but what we would definitely say, we want a fairly rigorous process to assure levels that people do have that appropriate level of literacy and numeracy. A test is a very elegant and simple way to prove it.”
Accreditation panels comprise four to six members, representing universities, schools and regulatory authorities and include a member from a different state to the one in which the university being accredited is based.
The chair of the estimates committee, West Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back, questioned whether the top 30 per cent of literacy and numeracy skills was high enough for prospective teachers.
“Why not 30 per cent of those graduating year 12 or at the end of schooling?” he asked.
“The top 30 per cent of the entire population, I would think that’s inadequate for somebody contemplating becoming a teacher of literacy and numeracy.”
Ms Evans said the standard represented the level of personal literacy and numeracy skills required for work and business, and equipped teachers with the skills to read test data and write letters to parents using the correct there, their and they’re.
Ms Evans said English and maths teachers in high school would require greater skills and expertise but the standard was sufficient for primary school teachers.