Sunday, August 10, 2008

Preparing graduate teachers for TEE exams

In Perth, we have the Tertiary Entrance Exams (TEE). This is a time of stress for new teachers and students alike. If you are a graduate teacher naturally you start to question whether you have done enough to get your students over the line. I covered the yr 12 Discrete course for five students this year (quite a soft entrance to teaching university bound students), but like most teachers we all want our students to succeed and get a good TER(Tertiary Entrance Ranking - score between 1 & 100 derived from scaled TEE exams) for 'front door' university entry.

[I can hear teachers in Perth saying there are no more TEE exams with the new courses of study(NCOS), but there are still external exams at the end of the final school year and it is the paradigm that we are most familiar with.]

Nonetheless graduate teachers can at this time feel the stress of performance as failure may relegate them to lesser classes for some time. It's probably a good time to give graduate teachers a day of real PD or reflection (preferably with access or guidance from a senior staff member) to gather themselves and prepare materials for TEE students for their run home. I hope when graduate teachers put their hand up they will be listened to; and graduates that are 'low profile' are being monitored and looked after.

We've been lucky in that our Discrete group of students have worked hard and agreed to meet before school regularly to complete old TEE questions and have used the great Saddler texts that have been around a long while (that include constant revision miscellaneous exercises). It's also great that the TEE Discrete course is underdone in the amount of required content in comparison to yr 11 preparatory (foundations) course. Oh, as an old course - it's the second last year it will be run and examined for university entry.

Which leads to the problems of the new year 11 2009 where we are running semesterised 1b,1c,2a,2b,2c,2d,3a MAT, 3b MAT, 3a MAS, 3b MAS courses which are 10 new courses of study, no texts available, no written class assessment and limited sample exam material. If I was a first year graduate falling into year 11 (rather than my soft entry yr12 Discrete course with a plethora of materials/experience of teachers/known student pitfalls/existing performance levels) I would be more concerned. Add to that learning how to use and teach with the new CAS calculators effectively.. it adds another layer of difficulty - especially if the calculators themselves are meant to increase the non-computational difficulty of the courses.

Click here to visit the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) for more information about tertiary entrance exams in WA.

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