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Labor Calls For Teaching Degrees To Only Take Top 30 Percent Of Students

Labor says it's imperative the standards for entering teaching degrees from high school are raised.

The required marks for entering teaching degrees should be set at the top 30 percent of ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) scores from high school students, according to the Labor Party.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek has been vocal in her support of the agenda.

"We cannot afford to continually dumb down teaching degrees, to enrol people who will never be competent teachers," Plibersek said on Sunday.

The ATAR is calculated not as a grade for the work that has been completed but rather as a rank around Australia.

Tanya Plibersek has given firm warnings about potential labor policies surrounding teaching standards. (Image AAP)

A person with a rank of 70 in this instance means that 30 percent of the population of Australia has received a higher ATAR than them.

Plibersek said teaching should be "as attractive as a profession as medicine."

Victoria and New South Wales have already implemented minimum standards for teaching.

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In NSW, any student entering a teaching degree must have scored a band 5 (between 80 and 89) or above in at least three subjects.

In Victoria, the state government has already implemented a minimum ATAR score for students of 65, which is set to rise to 70 in 2019.

There would be national standards for students to get into teaching degrees. (Image AAP)

Not all of those in the education industry are so keen on the proposed changes, due to outside factors also playing a role in the selection of students for degrees

"In reality, fewer than one-in-four students are chosen on the basis of their ATAR alone," said Professor Tania Apsland, President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education.

According to Apsland, there is no concrete evidence that teachers with a higher ATAR are necessarily better teachers.

Labor is willing to concede for students whose ATAR does not meet the required level but who receive bonus points.

These points are allocated to students through doing particularly well in certain subjects, living or attending school in designated regional areas or through an Educational Access Scheme.

Feature Image Getty

Contact the author: mgay@networkten.com.au