Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)

Q1 What are the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers?

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers are a public statement of what constitutes teacher quality. They define the work of teachers and make explicit elements of high-quality, effective teaching in 21st century schools that will improve educational outcomes for students.

The Standards describe what is expected of teachers across three domains: Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement; and across four career stages: Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead.

The Standards present a common understanding and language for professional discussions and reflections on teacher preparation, practice and improvement. The Standards are a useful framework for a broad range of education stakeholders including teachers, school leaders, teacher educators, teacher organisations, professional associations and the public.

Q2 How were the Standards developed?

The development of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers was informed by extensive research, expert knowledge, an analysis and review of standards in use by teacher registration authorities, employers and professional associations across Australia, and significant consultation. The process built upon the work of previous national frameworks and agreements.

Stakeholder consultations were conducted within jurisdictions using the arrangements determined by jurisdictional authorities, major employing authorities and teacher regulatory authorities.

In total, 120 single and consolidated submissions were received from the Federal, State and Territory governments and regulatory authorities, education unions, professional peak bodies and individual schools and teachers.

Following this, the Standards were tested across systems and sectors, school types, and geographical locations. The validation process involved two online surveys as well as focus group sessions held in every state and territory with nearly 6,000 teachers and principals from hundreds of schools around Australia involved.

Q3 Why were the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers developed?

The Standards form the basis for national consistency in:
• accrediting initial teacher education programs
• registration at the Proficient career stage
• certification of exemplary teacher practice at the Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages
• performance and development.

The Standards support the performance and development and professional learning of all teachers, as they provide consistent benchmarks to help teachers to:
• reflect on and discuss their practice and the practice of their colleagues
• identify further learning requirements
• evidence and assess improvements in their practice.

Q4 How do the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers benefit teachers

The Standards help teachers understand and improve their practice by describing what high quality teaching practice looks like at Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages, and providing a language for professional discussions about teacher preparation, practice, improvement and impact.

The Standards contribute to the professionalisation of teaching and raise the professional status of teachers nationally.

The Standards support career-long development by providing a benchmark to define the knowledge and skill levels required of teachers throughout their career. In doing so they support teachers in actively engaging in their professional development, evidencing improvements in their practice and identifying their achievements.

Q5 How are the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers used?

By articulating quality practice across four career stages the Standards promote improvements in practice and provide a map of career progression for teachers. Teachers use the Standards to:
• recognise current and developing capabilities and professional aspirations
• identify achievements and areas for improvement
• inform their self-reflection, performance and development planning and review, and professional learning choices.

Additionally, the Standards form the basis for national consistency in:
1. accrediting initial teacher education programs (against the Graduate career stage)
2. registration of teachers at the Proficient career stage
3. certification of exemplary teacher practice at the Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages*
4. performance and development.

*Certification at the Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages of the Standards is voluntary. Teachers may choose to be assessed against these Standards, if offered in their state or territory, but they are not required to do so. Find out more about certification.

Q6 What do the Standards mean for the frameworks developed by professional associations?

A range of existing standards were developed by various professional associations prior to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The expert working group developing the Australian Standards, in the course of their work, examined many of these existing standards.

The Australian Standards are intended as the high-level, over-arching set of standards to be adopted across Australia. It is expected other standards will align with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and may provide useful supplementary support.

Q7How will teachers become familiar with the Standards

A range of support materials have been developed by AITSL to support implementation. These can be accessed via the AITSL website.

In addition there are materials available from some systems and sectors, and educators may wish to contact their relevant system or sector to determine if additional materials are available for their context.

Resources available on the AITSL website include the following:

Unpacking and implementing the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
PowerPoint presentations and activities intended as a resource to support those working across the education sector to become familiar with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Each PowerPoint includes notes for the presenter.

Illustrations of Practice
Illustrations of Practice capture teaching practice aligned to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in a range of contexts and across career stages, year levels and learning areas. They are authentic, illustrative and instructive but not prescriptive or exhaustive.

Self-Assessment Tool
An online questionnaire enabling teachers at all career stages, in a range of contexts, to reflect upon and locate their practice in accordance with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

My Standards App
The free My Standards app makes the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers accessible anywhere, anytime. Inform and evidence your professional growth by collecting and annotating your own artefacts, referenced to the Standards.

Classroom Practice Continuum
An instrument that translates the Focus Areas of the Professional Practice Domain of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers into classroom practices that teachers enact at increasing levels of proficiency.

Teacher Toolkit
The Teacher Toolkit is the one place where AITSL's online tools and resources to support quality teaching can be found. Resources can be accessed by browsing categories or performing a search.

Q8Is AITSL now the teacher regulatory authority for all Australian teachers?

AITSL is not the teacher regulatory authority for all Australian teachers. The teacher regulatory authority in each state and territory is responsible for the registration of teachers in that state or territory. Teacher regulatory authorities should be contacted for all registration inquiries. Access a list of regulatory authorities.

Q9Do all states and territories have to use the Standards?

The Standards were endorsed by the Ministers for Education in all states and territories with implementation commencing from 2013. Please refer to state and territory regulatory authority websites for information relevant to the implementation of the Standards in your jurisdiction. Access a list of regulatory authorities.

The Graduate Teacher Standards have been adopted as part of accreditation of initial teacher education programs.

The Proficient Standards are used as a basis for nationally consistent registration and renewal of registration.

Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers is a voluntary process that formally recognises practice at the higher career stages. Information about certification and which states and territories have established certifying authorities can be found here.

The Standards also underpin the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders, which together can inform and support career progression, promotion and recognition.

Q10 How do I register as a teacher?

Beginning teachers are required to move from provisional to full registration in the early years of their career. This engages beginning teachers in a process to demonstrate their ongoing growth and competence as a professional practitioner. Preparing for full registration is aligned with and supported by the induction phase of a teacher’s career.

To achieve full registration, teachers are required to demonstrate achievement of the Proficient career stage of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The process for demonstrating this varies between jurisdictions, however, the process requires teachers to use evidence to both demonstrate, and reflect on, their practice against each of the focus areas at the Proficient career stage of the Standards.

The support teachers receive during the registration process varies depending on their context and circumstances − teacher regulatory authorities can provide greater detail regarding this. Access the list of teacher regulatory authorities.

A full outline of the requirements of the initial period of registration.

Q11 How do I evidence my practice against the Standards for registration at the Proficient career stage?

Detailed evidence requirements, including the format for presenting evidence, are available from the teacher regulatory authority in each jurisdiction. Access a list of these authorities.

Further information about moving from provisional to full registration.

Q12 How will AITSL maintain the currency of the Standards?

AITSL is committed to ensuring that the Standards continue to be a useful and powerful tool to support teachers in their professional practice.

In partnership with the University of Melbourne, AITSL is undertaking a three-year research project evaluating the implementation of the Standards. The early findings of this research indicate we are on the right track and that teachers, principals and initial teacher educators have a level of knowledge that would be expected at this stage of implementation. The final findings will inform the work of AITSL and guide how we continue to support the profession to implement the Standards.

Find out more about the evaluation of the implementation of the Standards.