Teachers who trained in the 1960’s, 70’s and until the very early 1980’s will think of ‘The Australian’ headline (‘Basics test for trainee teachers’, 5/5) as being about ‘back to the future’. Those who trained as teachers during those years HAD to pass basic literacy and numeracy tests before graduation. Those deemed not to be literate and numerate (by passing without error a Year 7 maths test and a 100 challenging word spelling test) were failed and could not graduate. I recall that our training college, we were allowed one spelling error in 100 words – any more errors and the test had to be resat.
In addition, we had pass reading and speaking competency tests and needed to demonstrate a general ability to work empathetically with all students during practice teaching rounds in schools. Our overall teaching was assessed, which included ability to both timetable and maintain appropriate levels of discipline and class management. We had to pass our practical teaching rounds.
Over the years, teacher preparation has drastically departed from what were prerequisite competencies. Sadly, a degree does not mean graduates are competent in the domains of literacy, numeracy and general modelling. May these proposed changes become reality – and a return to past high standards of pre-service preparation.