Aspiring teachers to sit army-style ‘personality tests’

Aspiring teachers to sit army-style ‘personality tests’

Student teachers in NSW will have to sit personality tests from next year as part of an assessment to see if they have what it takes to do the job.

The NSW Board of Studies (BOSTES) unveiled the initiative which will be carried out at all universities across the state.

Under a recent pilot test designed to evaluate basic literacy and numeracy skills, almost one in 10 trainee teachers failed to pass, a result Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham said was concerning.

Pre-service teachers around the nation volunteered to sit the test ahead of its rollout in 2016, when it will become compulsory for all teaching students to pass before they can graduate and register as teachers.

The results, which were released in December, revealed out of the 5,000 teaching students, 92% who took part passed the literacy component and 90% passed the numeracy assessment.

NSW Council of Deans of Education president, Chris Davidson, told The Sydney Morning Herald that the personality assessments will be similar to those used by the army and will weed out candidates deemed unsuited to the job before they begin their degrees.

“The challenge is to have one that works for teaching. You probably need a much higher degree of empathy than you do in the army,” Davidson said.

The decision follows a crackdown on teacher training by the NSW government in September. Aspiring teachers now have to achieve three band 5s to be accepted into university and pass literacy and numeracy tests.

“We already have high teaching standards in NSW schools. But we need the high achieving students of today to be the high achieving teachers of tomorrow,” NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said in September.

“The greatest in-school influence on students is quality teachers, so higher standards for future teachers are part of our plan to improve student results.

“Teaching is an incredibly important and rewarding job and I encourage this year's HSC students to consider it as a career.”

However, despite the crackdown, second chances have been extended to teachers who have not met the three band 5 standard through alternative entry schemes or scored a double degree position.