Selection and rejection in teacher education: qualities of character crucial in selecting and developing teacher education students

Amanda McGraw, Tim Fish

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The focus of recent Australian political and media reports on the selection of candidates for initial teacher education programs has focused on the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score as one of the key indicators of worth. This narrative study conducted in an Australian regional university focuses on the life stories of twelve pre-service teachers (PSTs) who received lower ATAR scores and who may well have been rejected by other universities. The PSTs’ narratives highlight that low achievement levels in the final years of schooling did not prevent them from being able to succeed in teacher education programs. We argue that high stakes tests as gatekeeping devices are simplistic measures that fail to recognise important qualities of character crucial to effective teaching. We suggest that qualities of character such as these are hard to quantify but are central to both selecting entrants to, and developing PSTs during, their teacher education programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • high stakes tests
  • Qualities of character
  • quality teaching
  • selection
  • teacher education

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