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Improving Educational Outcomes by Transforming the Selection of Future Teachers

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SELECTION (Improving Educational Outcomes by Transforming the Selection of Future Teachers)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29

This project is focused on developing theory- and practice-informed methods for selecting prospective teachers. In particular, we are designing and testing theory- and practice-informed teacher trainee selection tools based on an innovative situational judgment test (SJT) approach that uses indirect measurement of non-cognitive attributes using a scenario-based methodology. The research will: (a) dramatically improve understanding of the essential non-cognitive attributes of prospective teachers, (b) transform the teacher candidate selection process, and (c) provide system-wide improvements to educational, social, and economic outcomes by increasing the quality of teachers selected for training programs. The overall objective is to generate new research knowledge with novel and consequential theoretical and practical outcomes, with the potential to renew teacher selection procedures and improve educational outcomes by improving the quality of candidates selected for teacher training.
Our work is focused on four sub-projects. In Study1, we are focused on integrating deductive and inductive non-cognitive domains in our development of situational judgment tests (SJTs). We have now conducted the necessary preliminary work (through focus group and individual interviews) to test three new deductive non-cognitive domains--Integrity, Emotion regulation, and Growth Mindset--to complement the inductively-derived domains of Empathy & Communication; Organisation & Planning, and Resilience and Adaptability. Study 2, which examines the longitudinal predictive validity of SJTs, is currently underway with a pilot test linking teacher effectiveness and selection tools conducted in spring 2018, and further work in this area continuing in 2018-2019. Study 3, which examines expert and novice cognitive processing and decision-making when completing SJTs, is now complete with findings showing key differences and similarities between expert and novice teachers. Study 4, developing on-line video-based SJTs is currently progressing well, with a pilot test comparing video- and text-based SJTs scheduled for 2018 and continuing development of video-based SJTs through the next 12 months.
We are nearing the stage of releasing the first SJT for 'live' selection at one or two of our four project sites. We have been trialling and validating selection tools for the last two years, and are now focused on identifying the best-performing test content for live selection.
One new research focus we are beginning is the development of multiple mini-interviews, or MMIs, which consist of multiple face-to-face interviews with superior reliability and validity to the selection methods most often used by teacher training sites. MMIs are widely used for selection in other disciplines, and show high levels of reliability and validity. This new research direction has developed out of our interactions with some of our project sites where face-to-face interactions are expected for selection purposes. The combined use of SJTs for screening and MMIs for intensive selection provides a powerful selection process.