The author of this paper argues that moves in Australia to delegate quality assurance and professional recognition functions to local school management need to be accompanied by complementary moves to establish an independent professional body with responsibility for standards development and assessment provision. Valuable lessons can be drawn from the work of the US National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which has developed a voluntary system of National Board Certification for experienced teachers. Although the US states retain responsibility for initial teacher registration, the NBPTS complements this with an advanced certification system. The Board's standards and assessment packages were developed separately. The first step in setting standards was encapsulated in a policy containing a set of five core propositions defining knowledge, skills, dispositions and commitments. Once the standards were developed, assessment packages were designed and tested by Assessment Development Laboratories. Both standards and certification were split into over 30 specialist subject fields and developmental levels of students. The author suggests that, in Australia, it would be folly to introduce new career structures claiming to be based on evaluation of teacher performance before a similar scale of R&D to that of NBPTS is completed. Given the scale of the task, a comparable effort could only be conducted in Australia by a national professional body that had the support of all employing authorities and teacher organisations. If such a body were created, it would obviate dangers such as school administrators basing assessments of teachers on idiosyncratic interpretations of centrally provided generic teaching standards.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lawrence_ingvarson1/83/