Home | In The Classroom | Tough questions continue to dog LANTITE test

Tough questions continue to dog LANTITE test

Concerns about the validity and fairness of the LANTITE test continue as two prominent academics in the education sector have commented on how the current Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE) is administered.

In a meeting with several students who have been unable to graduate after failing LANTITE components, Associate Professor David Zyngier from Southern Cross University said it would make more sense for the test to be administered by each jurisdiction’s teacher registration board.

This, of course, would still prevent such students from teaching, but it would at least allow them to graduate and use the qualification in other fields. This is the case with Sammantha Hutchinson, a social worker whose education degree was intended to strengthen her career prospects in her current field.

Zyngier said the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) – which conducts the LANTIITE tests – “have a pecuniary interest in people failing” as the test costs roughly $200. He was also critical that students with disabilities are not receiving the adjustments they require.

What also came out of the meeting was the fact that there is no official pass mark for both components of the test: whether a student passes or fails is determined by the students with whom they are sitting the test.

In discussing how passes and fails are determined, senior lecturer at Monash University Dr Melissa Barnes said: “I think it’s quite a complicated process.

“And that’s why when you look at scores it can be quite confusing about why people are passing.”

Zyngier also added that some students will inevitably fail the test/s due to the test’s design.

“That’s the benchmark,” he said. “ [ACER] are only going to take the top 90 per cent.

“The pass mark will go up or down to maintain ‘quality control’.

“It’s certainly very complex. I don’t understand it. I don’t pretend to understand it.”

The convener of the meeting, Elizabeth Diacos, said she “found it astounding that universities were able to pass people all the way through until they get to this point”.

“If this is a quality control issue, should people be able to get to the very last moment of their degree – having passed all the way through – and then fail this test?”

Diacos went on to say there is obviously a disconnect between how universities approach testing and quality control in their courses and how ACER approaches testing.

At that point Zyngier chimed in to say that an increasing number of education courses around Australia are accepting students with ATARs under 50, which will only compound the failure rate.

“Now, many of these students do not come from first in family or Indigenous groups or rural groups. They are just bums – literally bums on seats,” he said.

“And they are not going to pass.”

Barnes contends that universities needed some level of accountability by supporting their students to prepare them for the test. For this reason, she said that Monash University tests and thoroughly prepares prospective education students in their first year to maximise their chances of success.

“Some universities haven’t done this, and they haven’t done the best thing by their students,” she said.

“I don’t think many universities wanted this extra hurdle, but what happened from a policy perspective was that there was a need to show that [the government] was doing something in teacher education to make sure we have high standards.”

Diacos then floated an idea that has regularly been expressed by students and commentators: Why not make the LANTITE part of the university’s entry requirements?

Zyngier disagreed immediately, saying it would “exclude a whole lot of people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds...students who are first in family, regional and remote students, and Indigenous students".

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6 comments

  1. Why not do the test before you waste your time doing the course getting hex

    Government has this set up in reverse

  2. Some inaccuracies in this article. Students are not compared to others sitting the test, they are required to meet a benchmark which would put them in the top 30% of the general population. In most test sittings more than 85% of students pass. Not helpful to have untrue information in an article like this.

    • Thanks for highlighting this, Sara. I will double-check my sources and correct, if necessary. May I ask what the other inaccuracies are? Kind regards, Education Review.

  3. I dont think 85% pass.

  4. I think it is a disgrace from the policy makers to set this in motion, I would like to see each and every one of them sit the test, whether they are in government, lecturers or on university board, I promise they will fail the test miserably. It is about making money across the board. Student teachers go through so much to complete their degrees and yet they are faced with the lantite, without passing it all their hard work is wasted. Honestly, who would want to be a teacher especially now, it is a thankless job, you get beaten around all the time and yet your are expected to deliver at your 100% all the time. Teachers are the least respected profession in Australia, you get attacked, pushed around, sworn at, spat at and everyone thinks they know how to do your job better than you.
    When students fail the lantite they have to pay to resit it. It is shameful on the governing body to keep charging for the test, it is a requirement to pass it to get your qualifications it should be provided for free, I also agree with previous posts, make it as part of the entry to the course, better yet students should sit the test while they are still at school to get the right support for it and pass it before enrolling for their course instead of having to source support from outside agencies which costs them more money, why aren’t the universities stepping up and making it a unit of the course and supporting their students, but offcourse more money have to be paid there aswell. I also think they should make as an entry test for teaching so students know the expectations before signing up, ah, but then universities will not be able to have bums on seats for their courses and they will have to do some work towards this to support their studends.
    We currently have a chronic shortage of teachers in Australia and world wide, we should do better to support our student teachers and current teachers.
    The government have this in reverse but when did this government get things right. Shame on them for failing our profession, our society and most important failing our children.

  5. The test goes against everything that teaching theory espouses! Individual’s unique strengths and talents are not recognised and the test is designed to snare and fail poor students and leave them out of pocket! Definitely a neo-liberal initiative. The test is a disgracefully designed, punitive idea. It is obvious that governments do not respect teachers or education; if they did, another form of testing would be available, or at least some academic consideration for those unable to perform through circus hoops in unreasonable amounts of time.

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