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Australia has a large and complex teacher education system, with 48 providers offering more than 400 programs and graduating more than 15,000 potential teachers every year. The accreditation system relies on three related elements: the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers’ Graduate Teacher Standards, which make explicit the knowledge, skills and attributes expected of graduates; the Program Standards, which describe the characteristics of programs that give confidence that the Graduate Teacher Standards will be achieved; and the accreditation process, which sets out a nationally consistent approach to accreditation.

Accredited teacher education programs rely on the Graduate Teacher Standards in planning their assessment structures, but each institution designs its own assessment instruments. Standardised assessments, designed for use across multiple institutions and jurisdictions are rarely used. There has, however, been increased policy interest in recent years in the possibility of using standardised assessments of attributes such as literacy and numeracy to underpin accreditation and registration standards.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of standardised assessments in teacher education. The paper identifies four types of assessments and provides examples of each of these. The paper concludes with an analysis of the implications for assessment in Australian teacher education, including a set of policy options.