Aboriginal Elementary school teacher giving a presentation to the class. The students have their hands raised to ask questions in the classroom Picture: istock
Aboriginal Elementary school teacher giving a presentation to the class. The students have their hands raised to ask questions in the classroom Picture: istock

The shockingly low OP required for a teaching degree

QUEENSLAND students can get into education degrees with OPs as low as 17, reigniting calls to overhaul the standards to become a teacher.

The Australian Catholic University this year accepted students with an Overall Position of 17 into Early Childhood and Primary Education degrees.

And the Christian Heritage College also accepted school leavers with the same OP into their Primary and Secondary courses.

The most competitive entry rank was an OP 11 at The University of Queensland for a Bachelor of Education (Primary) followed by Griffith's entry cut-off at 13.

Director of Education program at the Centre for Independent Studies Dr Fiona Mueller said it was "really disappointing" that Universities weren't treating entry standards as "seriously as they should", calling for "rigorous entry standards".

"We know that countries with high-performing education systems make the selection and training of teachers an absolute priority with very high expectations of entry," she said.

"It's very, very unlikely that a person choosing teaching who has achieved poorly at school actually has the knowledge and skills to model good learning among students, among young people."

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace. Picture: AAP/Glenn Hunt
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace. Picture: AAP/Glenn Hunt

But Minister Grace Grace has doubled down on the quality of the state's teachers, and said becoming registered to teach was a rigorous process.

"The value of a teacher cannot be measured simply by their high school results alone," she said.

"Many teachers also undertake further studies throughout the course of their employment to ensure their skills are up to date."

It comes as the latest OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey showed an alarming amount of Australian secondary teachers felt unprepared to teach, with one third reporting they weren't confident in core subjects.

Director of Education program at the Centre for Independent Studies Dr Fiona Mueller.
Director of Education program at the Centre for Independent Studies Dr Fiona Mueller.

Dr Mueller said low entry standards created a high-risk situation where it was left to employing authorities to make sure deficits were addressed before a teacher is employed.

"It's one of the professions that really cannot afford to have disengaged or unmotivated people, and I absolutely believe that teaching is a vocation

"It's a critical factor teachers have to bring to the classroom and it's not really something that can be taught at university," she said.

High school students must pass English and Mathematics across four semesters in year 11 and 12 in order to gain entry to teaching courses at University, and submit a personal statement describing their motivation for teaching.

Queensland College of Teachers Director Deanne Fishburn.
Queensland College of Teachers Director Deanne Fishburn.

 

The Queensland College of Teachers Director Deanne Fishburn said the extensive requirements needed for high quality graduates to become registered as a teacher were already in place.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the Government had introduced a literacy and numeracy test and a teaching performance test to ensure all teachers are in the top 30 per cent of the adult population.

But since 2016, there has been a 5 per cent drop in the number of teachers meeting the standard for literacy and a four per cent drop in numeracy, in the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education students.

Shadow Minister for Education Tanya Plibersek doubled down on their previous election commitment to introduce minimum entry scores in Universities did not lift minimum entry scores.

"High-performing school systems generally take their teachers from the top 30 per cent of academic achievers," she said.

We need to make sure that, like other high-performing countries, we are attracting our best and brightest into teaching degrees at university."