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ITE literacy and numeracy test trials removal of attempt cap

A student teacher test that ensures teachers are in the top 30 per cent in the country in literacy and numeracy skills has increased its number of allowed attempts from three to unlimited.

The Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE) would previously bar student teachers from becoming accredited for two years if they failed the test three times, or five times if they applied for an extra two attempts through their education institution.

All students enrolled in initial teacher education (ITE) must pass the test before receiving their qualification and, since its introduction in 2016, about one in 10 student teachers fail.

Education ministers agreed to trial unlimited attempts from September to August to assess whether the cap was a necessary quality-control measure.

Removing the cap also comes with an updated feedback process, wherein those who take the test will now receive written feedback on where they went wrong, and what they can improve on.

Previously, prospective teachers would only receive a statement that indicated whether or not they had officially passed the test.

The two tests (one literacy and one numeracy) cost $98 each, or $196 together per student teacher.

A report from a teacher panel that was tasked with improving the way student teachers are prepared for the classroom said 32 per cent of recent teacher graduates believed ITE programs were too theoretical, philosophical and didn't always include relevant content.

It also found ITE programs such as LANTITE "have led to significant progress in raising standards in the selection and preparation of teachers."

The report also said that combining a number of ITE programs has produced positive outcomes, but more practical education would be helpful for preparing student educators for real-world teaching.

A number of academics said the cap removal will relax pressure on the teacher shortage, while dean of education programs at the University of South Australia Professor Anne-Marie Morgan said the change might relax pressure on teachers themselves.

"It remains to be seen if the trial reduces student anxiety," the Professor said.

"Certainly the requirement to pass has not diminished, and I’d suspect anxiety levels remain high for many students, in relation this assessment which is in addition to their programs of study.

"Preparation for the test is still important, however, and universities have had support processes and required students to reach a certain level in trial tests to ensure they have the best chance of successful completion.

"This would still be recommended, but cannot be required during the trial."

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