Initial teacher education students go through extensive studies and testing before they become teachers, but that list is about to grow even more. A new federal government plan has now said that student teachers must also do practical exams starting in 2018.
Aspiring teachers must already take a literacy and numeracy test. This covers the basic literacy and numeracy all teachers should feel confident with before entering a classroom. As of 2018, this will expand to include the CASPer test. The Australian government believe that this test will be an appropriate means of screening the best teaching candidates with real aspirations for teaching. It is also believed that this test will help create a pool of those genuine student teachers with exceptional skills and ambitions.
What is the CASPer test?
The CASPer test is a 90-minute online test that looks at the candidates’ own qualities. It is a non-cognitive test, designed to look at one’s personal attributes and “soft skills”. It will look at personal and professional characteristics such as empathy, ethics and communication skills. It will also measure one’s willingness to learn new things, self-awareness and motivation to teach. It looks at the candidate’s personal motivation to teach, their resilience, and organisational and planning skills. Finally, the CASPer test will determine if the candidate has strong intrapersonal and communication skills.
The test itself includes videos of various scenarios that the students must watch before responding to. They are asked how they would react in these situations. Students must have a webcam available so they can validate their identity.
Mixed reactions to the new test
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said of the news tests: “Graduate teachers deserve to know that they have the skills to succeed in the classroom just as students, parents, and principals deserve to know that new teachers have been given the best possible skills.”
The test has its critics though. Frank Thompson, the president of Career Education Association of Victoria, told The Age: “For disadvantaged students, the cost is a real imposition. Career advisors are not opposed to the idea of the test, but the timing of this announcement has left us with very little time to make sure students are informed and prepared.”
Currently, there is a push to toughen up standards for teachers in Australia This includes moving the ATAR score up to 65 in 2018 and up to 70 in 2019 if they want to enrol in teacher education. The Opposition’s education spokesman Nick Wakeling believes that this kind of testing is “problematic” when students are already at an extremely stressful part of their education. He said: “I urge the minister to stop and think about the damage this is going to cause young people who are at a very vulnerable period of their life right now and put an end to this madness.”
What does this mean for those who want to teach abroad?
Student teachers should complete the test regardless if they are teaching in Australian schools or not. It is accepted by most institutions in Australia, so if you were ever to come back to the country, it is better to have it than to not.
Point to Point Education aims to connect talented teachers with the best schools. We want to give teachers an opportunity to use their skills and knowledge in a new and exciting setting and give them support along the way. If you are interested in teaching in the UK or somewhere else in the world like Asia or UAE, then contact us today to help start your new adventure.