3.7.2 Use of standards

Some countries may develop standards for a specific purpose, while others may use them as a framework for multiple purposes. For example, Australia’s National Professional Standards for Teachers describe core competences, along with performance levels set for four professional career stages: Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead (AITSL, 2014).

In some contexts, standards are used to stimulate teachers’ professional learning and improve the quality of teaching. In those cases, the education authorities must give serious thought to motivating and supporting teachers to meet the standards. Placing additional responsibilities on already overloaded teachers without any support is likely to have no effect, or possibly a detrimental effect.

Well-defined standards can provide a systematic and useful framework for teacher development, including CPD, as well as mentoring for teachers who need additional assistance, formative assessment that provides feedback to teachers, Footnote 25 diagnostic self-assessment and self-learning tools. The AITSL website provides a broad range of tools and resources that support teachers’ professional learning.

Countries that set standards for novice teachers should ensure that pre-service education and induction settings are adequate. This may require revising the curriculum of teacher preparation courses. If a country has an accreditation system for teacher education institutions/programmes or other regulations, the assessment criteria should be aligned with the standards. The standards may also provide a reference point for setting criteria for selecting the individuals who will enter teacher preparation programmes.

Standards for performance-based assessments can also be used for management and accountability purposesFootnote 26. These types of assessments hold teachers accountable for their performance, and require well-designed, valid and comparable assessment tools, as well as assessors trained to ensure fairness of judgement.

3.7.3 Standards for head teachers