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Is online teacher selection right for you?

October 2020

by Liz Maxwell, October 2020

An image visualising teacher selection.

Against a background of economic uncertainty, teaching is becoming an increasingly attractive career choice—the numbers applying for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs are up by 35% according to recent reports (TES, September 2020). Meanwhile, the pandemic has forced many of us to work almost entirely online, and recruitment for ITE is not exempt from the pressures to avoid face-to-face contacts.

It is no surprise then, that online teacher selection has become a hot topic in recent months. Some things however, have not changed. ITE providers are perhaps keener than ever to offer places to graduates who are a ‘good fit’ for their program, who will create diversity in the teaching profession, are committed to the profession, and who exhibit the right mix of academic and personal characteristics to be effective in the classroom. Our situational judgement tests (SJTs) and multi mini-interviews (MMIs) enable providers to select the best candidates for their programs.

Nearly 10 years in the making and piloted with over 70,000 teacher education candidates, our SJTs are grounded in research and connected to practice. They present realistic job previews so candidates can get a much better understanding of what teaching will involve. They are level-specific; our SJT scenarios focus on early years, primary, middle years and secondary settings. A well-constructed and validated SJT will measure a wide range of personal and professional characteristics deemed important, such as empathy, communication, resilience and adaptability. Finally, the SJTs allow ITE providers to differentiate between candidates.

But teaching is inherently a social profession and an SJT alone may not provide enough information to make informed teacher selection decisions. MMIs consist of multiple independent stations that target specific characteristics such as professionalism, creativity, communication and motivation to teach. Typically, a candidate would experience five independent mini-interviews with five different assessors. The candidate may be asked to introduce a teaching concept using an artifact, watch and respond to a video segment, or sort a set of cards presenting challenging teaching dilemmas. Independent scores from various stations ensure high reliability and can be combined with SJT outcomes to inform final selection decisions.

Of course, any selection is a two-way process; choosing MMIs for teacher selection is also an opportunity for ITE providers to showcase their program and its unique identity and image. Specifically, our approach to multiple mini-interviews design is a highly collaborative one. Stations are developed and adapted to suit the local context, training can be provided for assessors, and resources are available for administration teams. On-line scoring for assessors is also available through a secure online platform.

SJTs coupled with MMIs provide a rich source of evidence so ITE providers can offer places to well-rounded candidates who are highly suited to teaching and committed to the profession.

Interested in bespoke selection tools for your organisation? We’d love to hear from you!

For more information, please contact us.