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“The Heart, The Wallet and the Cookie Cutter”: Student and stakeholder experiences of undertaking LANTITE, the high-stakes test in Australian initial teacher education

Hilton, Alison LynetteORCID: 0000-0002-1242-0577 (2021) “The Heart, The Wallet and the Cookie Cutter”: Student and stakeholder experiences of undertaking LANTITE, the high-stakes test in Australian initial teacher education. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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The aim of this research was to explore initial teacher education (ITE) student and stakeholder perceptions of the student experience of undertaking a nationally mandated, highstakes test: Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education students (LANTITE). This licensure test became a requirement from 1st July 2016 as part of the ongoing reform of teacher education in Australia. Teacher education reform has long been part of international and domestic political agendas, particularly in the pursuit of teacher quality.

This mixed methods study used a pragmatic approach and the research was intentionally designed to give voice to the student experience. There were two distinct participant groups recruited for this study: (a) ITE students from Australian universities; and (b) ITE stakeholders who have regular contact with ITE students and were employed in roles such as teacher educators at universities and teaching staff in Australian schools. There were two phases of the research conducted in early 2019 over an eight-week period. The first phase consisted of a short online questionnaire for both ITE students and stakeholders, and the second phase consisted of a semi-structured telephone interview with individuals from both participant groups who had opted into this component as part of the online questionnaire.

Both ITE students and stakeholders identified three main themes relating to the student experiences of the test: (a) The Heart (emotions and feelings related to the tests); (b) The Wallet (costs associated with the test); and, (c) The Cookie Cutter (the inclusion/exclusion tensions of creating a quality teacher). A diverse range of experiences were recorded and included positive, neutral and negative feedback both about the process and the overall experience. Students also described a range of experiences relating to the different phases of the testing process, including pre-test, during LANTITE and post-test.

The research findings give voice to those most impacted by the implementation of LANTITE in 2017 and provide new insights into how the students are experiencing the tests for the professional authorities, universities and teacher educators who support initial teacher education students in meeting the standards required of LANTITE and complete their preservice course requirements. Furthermore, the findings from this study suggest improvements in communication to students and a range of supports to students undertaking the tests is required for students to have a clearer understanding of the testing process and structure. The research findings also inform several recommendations in relation to improving the processes for students undertaking this test, particularly in relation to student communication and how results and student feedback are offered. A number of suggested policy improvements are also recommended, including the need to proactively engage students in the design and review of the test experience and the importance of taking student wellbeing into consideration in the testing process.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Education
Supervisor(s): Saunders, Rebecca, Mansfield, Caroline and Perry, Laura
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