Choosing our best: innovation in teacher education selection
Williamson, J and Gardner, C and Knipe, S and Fehring, H and Szadura, A and Falkiner-Rose, L, Choosing our best: innovation in teacher education selection, Australian Council of Deans of Education, Australia, 1-65 (2017) [Contract Report]
This study seeks to describe and map the approaches and mechanisms used by Australian
Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Providers to select students into courses. It focuses on
processes not based on the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
Institutions regularly review their course entry requirements and the TEMAG report provided
recommendations for consideration by ITE providers in this regard. This study reflects
institutional action following adoption of the recommendation regarding the use of academic
and non-academic selection approaches.
The Human Research Ethics Committee of Tasmania approved the study, which was
conducted during late 2016 and early 2017. Researchers used the same questionnaire
instrument as one designed and implemented by Universities Australia in an earlier
investigation (undertaken in 2013) for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School
Leadership (AITSL). Interviews, to obtain stakeholder perceptions of the entry approaches
and mechanisms, were conducted. The interview sample comprised Deans and Heads of
Faculties and Schools of Education, pre-service students and recent graduates.
The mixed-methods approach to data gathering was chosen to provide base-line data and
richer, detailed information about specific approaches.
The questionnaire was sent to all Deans/Heads of Faculties/Schools of Education (N=40)
and 27 completed returns were received. Four Deans/Heads and 13 pre-service students
and recent graduates were interviewed and audio-recorded for later transcription and
The data show a variety of institutional approaches to the selection mechanisms and
processes for entry into Initial Teacher Education (ITE) courses with approaches resulting
from institution mission, context and strategic priorities. All are rigorous and publicly
available through the respective Academic Board or Senate.
The data suggest institutions:
• Have strategies for consideration of equity, and access and participation. They are
consistent and not ad hoc in their use of bonus points and targeted approaches,
which provide additional student support
• Have rigorous entry requirements, but see the ITE course as important in refining the
qualities and dispositions of the pre-service students
• Regularly review their entry approaches and mechanisms to ensure they fit their
• See the need to work collaboratively with other key stakeholders to raise the status of
teaching as a career.
pre-service teachers, Australian universities, attracting prospective teachers