Teaching and Learning Audits – what’s next?

The publication of Teaching and Learning Audit data has resulted in the initiative being put on hold while the QTU consults with its members on whether the audit process has a future.

The information was printed in The Courier-Mail on Saturday 28 January, prompting the QTU to issue a directive suspending all involvement in Teaching and Learning Audits until further notice.

The Union took the decision on the basis that the publication constituted a breach of commitments previously given by DET around the use of the audit reports.

Teachers and principals are not trying to hide anything - the results of the audits are already shared with individual schools’ P&C groups. However, they were never designed to provide school-to-school comparisons.

The purpose of the audits is to provide school communities and DET with information on how best to direct resources and areas of development in the school.

The point-in-time audits did not take into account factors including the impact of natural disasters and highly transient student cohorts with differing needs, and were up to two years old.

Future involvement

At the time of writing, the QTU directive suspending involvement in the process remains in force. However, given the positive feedback received from many members regarding the Teaching and Learning Audits, the Union is seeking input from members to determine whether the process should continue.

Background

The QTU has been involved in the audit process since its inception.  It has participated as a key stakeholder on the reference group and has provided input into the development of the tool and the audit process.

During the development of the tool and the trial audits conducted in 2009, issues were raised about the accessibility of the audit reports to people outside the department.  Assurances were provided that the audit reports would not be released for publication, assurances that were instrumental in securing the participation and cooperation of QTU members in the process.

While the first round of audits was not without problems, the feedback to the QTU and others was that, in general, the audit process was useful in terms of informing the development agenda of schools. Consequently, the QTU committed to continued involvement.

The purpose of the audits, as outlined in the department’s information sheet, is to “place a strong focus on auditing key curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment practices of a school. Following the audit, the school will be provided with a detailed report relating to their progress against system expectations and accountabilities to inform future developmental needs of each school, as well as developmental needs for the system".

Given this purpose, the stakeholders' reference group agreed to an ongoing process of audits that would occur in line with the cycle of quadrennial school reviews, upon the appointment of a new principal and upon the request of a principal. No more than one audit should occur within a school within a 12 month time frame.

You are encouraged to participate in your workplace meeting and consequent ballot to express your support, or otherwise, of the QTU consultation paper.

Kate Seed
Deputy General Secretary

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 117 No 1, 17 February 2012, p13