Improving teacher quality requires broader input than minimum ATAR score

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 12-3-2013

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



In the past week, both the NSW State Government and the Federal Government have announced plans for lifting the quality of teaching graduates to ensure our school children are taught by the best and most committed teachers.

The University of Notre Dame Australia offers teacher education courses across its three campuses, in Perth, Sydney and Broome and strongly endorses the need for high quality teachers in all classrooms across Australia. The University acknowledges the important role universities play in equipping tomorrow's teachers and welcomes a national approach to teacher education, based on agreement and consultation between Education Departments, the Catholic School systems, Independent Schools and universities.

Entrants to Teacher Education Courses should be high academic performers with well-developed literacy and numeracy skills, and they should receive high quality professional experience as part of their teacher education programs. The University also endorses the Federal Government's statement that there are a number of character attributes that play a very important role in becoming a successful teacher and that these characteristics and values should be prominent in the selection process for initial teacher education.

As part of its standard admissions process, The University of Notre Dame Australia has always interviewed each applicant deemed to have met minimum entry requirements. At interview for a place in the School of Education, prospective students are provided the opportunity to evidence their commitment to children, the community and the profession, as well as offer insight into the challenges of teaching in the 21st Century. They are expected to engage in discussion that allows them the opportunity to demonstrate character qualities suitable for the profession whilst gathering a deeper understanding of the course and expectations. Our attrition rate attests to the success of our admission process, with a rate of only 7.5 per cent for Notre Dame Teacher Education Students.

The University of Notre Dame Australia Sydney Campus also ensures that all graduates from the School of Education have met the NSW Institute of Teachers' literacy and numeracy accreditation requirements prior to graduation. The University has always believed that a high standard of literacy and numeracy is integral to quality teaching.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond, said it was essential to gain a holistic view of a candidate in order to assess their suitability for a course.

"The University has always recognised the importance of the personal qualities of our prospective students as well as the academic," she said.

"These collective qualities are then considered as the predictor for a student's capacity to achieve both in the Higher Education environment and the profession. An ATAR should never be the sole criterion for admission to teacher education," Professor Hammond said.

Jennifer Hockley, a fourth year Bachelor of Education student at Notre Dame, said the University's holistic application process gave her the opportunity to study education.

"I am really passionate about becoming a teacher and am extremely grateful for the opportunity that Notre Dame afforded me to work toward this goal," Ms Hockley said.

"Notre Dame took into account not only my academic record, but also the fact that I am a very active member of my local community. My love of helping others led me to participate in a volunteer trip to Kenya with the School of Education in 2012. I was able to utilise and develop my skills as a trainee teacher in a local school, building meaningful connections with local students and teachers alike."

"It was an experience I will carry with me when I am a teacher in my own classroom," she said.

The University has prepared a report that reviews its current model of entry standards for aspiring education professionals and reviews the potential inequitable effects of the new process proposed by the NSW Minister for Education in Great teaching, Inspired Learning; A Blueprint for Action. For a copy of the report, please contact Elizabeth Fenech.

For further information please contact: Communications Officer, Elizabeth Fenech The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

T: 02 8204 4407

E: elizabeth.fenech@nd.edu.au

W: www.nd.edu.au/