ATAR results just part of picture

Mary Fogarty
Research Officer

Just 27 per cent of all students admitted to initial teacher education programs enter on the basis of their senior secondary results.

A recent Australian Institute for Teaching and School Learning (AITSL) revealed more than 70 per cent of students are non-ATAR admissions. The range of mechanisms used to admit non-ATAR applicants can take the form of interviews, additional testing, previous qualifications and work history.

The diversity of entrants to initial teacher education programs provides schools with qualified teachers from a range of backgrounds and histories. Compared with all fields of higher education, a greater proportion of students commencing initial teacher education programs come from a lower socio-economic status (16 per cent and 21 per cent respectively) and/or from regional areas (18 per cent and 26 per cent respectively). Initial teacher education programs also have a slightly higher proportion (2 per cent) of Indigenous students when compared with the percentage across all fields of higher education (1 per cent). However, the representation of Indigenous students in initial teacher education does not yet match the proportion of Indigenous school students (4.9 per cent).

The data indicate that for those students who do enter initial teacher education based on their ATAR score the majority have an ATAR of between 61 and 80, and 28 per cent have an ATAR 81 and above. Data collected through surveys of graduate teachers, existing teachers and principals provide information on satisfaction with initial teacher education programs. Overall, students indicate high levels of satisfaction across a range of areas within their initial teacher education program.

Responses from principals on the capabilities of graduates exiting initial teacher education programs are mixed. Graduates are seen as well prepared to handle activities such as collaborating with colleagues and engaging students, but principals have reported graduates to be less well prepared in skills such as managing classroom activities and understanding differences among students.

For 2012 primary teaching graduates, 14 per cent of those employed in either a part- or full-time capacity were not working in a school. For secondary graduates, 13 per cent of those employed in either a part or full-time capacity were not working in a school. Of the percentages of primary and secondary teaching graduates who were working full-time, 93 per cent and 92 per cent respectively, were working in schools. Generally, teacher education graduates seeking full-time employment have been as successful as bachelor graduates from other fields of education.