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Teaching performance assessments in the USA and Australia: Implications of the “bar exam for the profession”

Jennifer Charteris (School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)

International Journal of Comparative Education and Development

ISSN: 2396-7404

Article publication date: 13 June 2019

Issue publication date: 12 November 2019




Teaching performance assessments (TPAs) have developed in the USA and Australia as a “bar exam” for the profession and are used means to assure that graduates are classroom ready. The purpose of this paper is to outline how these assessments have been implemented in teacher education in the USA and Australian contexts. The edTPA is embroiled in controversy in the USA and there are important lessons from the related research literature that could inform the how other countries engage with TPAs in pre-service teacher education.


This conceptual paper outlines how Australia has introduced TPAs in initial teacher education (ITE) through policy borrowing from the USA. The paper synthesises critiques of the edTPA (USA) from research literature and considers the implications of TPAs in the Australian context.


The TPA impacts the focus of pre-service teacher practicum teaching, and pedagogy and curriculum in ITE education. The TPA could be used to mobilise detrimental accountability mechanisms. With the outsourcing of assessment to edu-business, Pearson Education, teacher education institutions in the USA have a sense that they have lost control over determining which students are credentialed to teach. Although pre-service teacher assessment is still administered and assessed by ITE institutions in Australia, there is a concern that could change. It is argued that educators, administrators and policy makers should avoid moves to outsource TPAs in Australia.


Because it is in its infancy, there is a little robust research into the implication of introducing teacher performance assessments into the Australian teacher education context.



Charteris, J. (2019), "Teaching performance assessments in the USA and Australia: Implications of the “bar exam for the profession”", International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 237-250.



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