A new admission system model for teacher colleges

Published date05 September 2016
Date05 September 2016
AuthorSara Katz,Yehiel Frish
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum, instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
A new admission system model
for teacher colleges
Sara Katz and Yehiel Frish
Shaanan Academic College of Education, Haifa, Israel
Purpose – Aspects of intellectual competence would not be sufcient for quality teaching that requires
a mix of intellectual and personal qualities. The purpose of this paper was to elicit personal attributes of
teachers’ college applicants.
Design/methodology/approach – This qualitative case study consisted of 99 participants aged
20-24 years of average socio-economic and achievement backgrounds. The authors constructed ve
qualitative tools, in addition to the two existing standardized exams. Using techniques of the grounded
theory, the authors sorted and synthesized the data through three-phase coding.
Findings – The authors elicited a general concept map of attributes, from which a personal attribute
prole for each participant emerged. This model makes ne differentiations between individuals,
providing a personal attribute prole pool of applicants useful for any admission committee and for
empowering students’ strengths during studies.
Research limitations/implications – A solid database of non-cognitive attributes opens the door
to further research, which will take into consideration multiple variables, such as student knowledge,
beliefs and aptitudes.
Practical implications Training teachers to apply research methodology into practice and
limiting the length of tools make the mission possible, interesting and useful. Figuring out how to collect
valid measures of such data about large numbers of college students would be a major challenge.
Social implications As teachers occupy a central position in the educational enterprise, they
become guardians of the country’s collective socio-cultural legacy. In the current context of teacher
shortages, the authors offer a model that has the potential of improving recruitment of applicants for
teaching and raising teacher quality.
Originality/value – No previous attempt that uses qualitative methodology for this purpose was
Keywords Competences, Case studies, Quality, Procedures, Colleges
Paper type Case study
The context of the problem
Two very unpleasant incidents occurred this academic year: a third-year student who was
accepted to study teaching on the basis of very high scores at the psychometric and at the high
school nal exams did very well until she started her practice in school. She did not come on
time, and she was not well prepared for her lessons. Later on, we realized that she did not take
responsibility, and she did not even care.
The authors acknowledge that they have followed the human subjects review procedure
established by their institution. They obtained signed consent forms and went through a number
of steps to ensure participants’ condentiality. All participants agreed to take part in the study.
Most expressed positive feelings toward the procedures, appreciating their importance for
effective teaching in the future.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
system model
Received 21 January 2014
Revised 16 February 2016
Accepted 1 June 2016
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.24 No. 4, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-01-2014-0003
“Another excellent third year student was not thinking of being a teacher at all. She had
planned to acquire her rst degree in education which she said” is pretty simple “and then to
move on to another department and study something else. These two incidents triggered
enormous discussions we have conducted on how to improve our applicant admission
system”. (Taken from the researchers’ eld-notes)
Our college has constantly addressed the question of how to select the applicants
most suited to the academic teacher training college vision and mission. Applicants
in Israel are usually accepted to teacher colleges according to the Matriculation
exam and the Psychometric Entrance Test (PET) scores, taken at the end of high
school studies.
Matriculation, in the broadest sense, means to be registered or added to a list,
from the Latin matricula – little list. The most common meaning refers to the formal
process of becoming eligible to enter a university or a college by fullling certain
academic requirements. Matriculation exams assess knowledge on subjects studied
in high school. The process of matriculation is supervised by the Israeli Ministry of
Education. The exams of all compulsory subjects and most elective subjects are
designed and written by the Ministry, thereby creating a standard measure of the
students’ knowledge throughout the country. The PET is a standardized test,
equivalent to the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) in the USA. It covers three
areas: mathematics, verbal reasoning and the English language. It is administered
by the National Institute for Testing (NITE) and is heavily weighted for university
admissions. The test may be taken in English, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian or
French. The results are valid for university or college admission for seven years.
According to the NITE, the PET is a tool for predicting academic performance and
is used by institutions of higher education to screen applicants for the various
departments. The test ranks all applicants on a uniform scale and, compared to other
admissions tools, is less affected by differences in applicants’ backgrounds or other
subjective factors. A large body of research demonstrates the high predictive ability
of the PET. In general, students who receive high PET scores are more successful in
their academic studies than students who receive low scores. In addition to the
screening tools available to institutions of higher education, the combination of the
PET and the matriculation exams has proven to have the best predictive ability.
We used to conduct two interviews in addition to the PET and the matriculation
exams. One was conducted by the principal and supplied a rst impression of the
applicant and the other was conducted by two teachers. Nevertheless, members
conducting the admission process in the college admitted that they know very little
about the applicants, and that the existing tools supplied insufcient information in this
regard. The PET is not a perfect tool. Although it is generally able to predict academic
success, there may be a small number of examinees who do not do well on the test but
nonetheless succeed in their studies, and vice versa. Neither is the test a direct measure
of factors such as motivation, creativity and diligence, which are denitely related to
academic success – although some of these elements are measured indirectly by both the
PET and the matriculation exams. Data that call into question the reliability and
predictive validity of standard admission procedures in higher education have
increasingly emerged (Tadmor, 2005;Thomas, 2005). High academic scores in the PET
have proved insufcient to make a good teacher. They might lack important personal
information. Although the ability/achievement of teachers has dominated public

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