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Robust Research Needed To Ensure System-level Improvements To Initial Teacher Education

The Education Review Office (ERO) has recently released a 174-page report that makes sweeping system-level claims and comparisons based on a small-scale survey of less than 10% of newly graduated teachers and 12% of principals.

The New Zealand Council of Deans of Education is concerned that the report’s findings are based on a flawed methodology and should not inform any proposed system-wide changes.

Some of the report’s findings reaffirm existing data that show new teachers often feel under-prepared when entering the workforce. While the Deans agree this is an ongoing issue, they also note that most graduates from a variety of disciplines both here and internationally often feel apprehensive when entering the workplace fresh out of tertiary study.

In New Zealand, teachers become fully certificated after being employed as teachers for two years after graduation from university. Like other new professionals, such as lawyers, engineers, and psychologists, the final part of their preparation is carried out by the profession through a programme of in-context mentoring and induction.

Professor Alison Kearney, Council Chair and Head of Institute of Education at Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa says, “As university-based Initial Teacher Education providers, we deeply value our excellent relationships with schools. Our strong partnerships are reflected in the high rates of full certification recommended by school principals. The New Zealand Teaching Council reports that more than 90% of beginning teachers become fully qualified to teach, showing that the system is working well.”

“The methodology of the ERO report is inherently problematic. To truly understand where systemic improvements may be needed,” says Professor Kearney, “we must have robust and comprehensive research in partnership with all stakeholders.”

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