copy the linklink copied!Chapter 3. Supporting teachers’ professional growth

Abstract

This chapter explores how Albania’s appraisal processes and related teaching standards, career structure and professional learning policies could better develop teachers’ competencies. While Albania has a range of appraisal processes, they are not designed to support teachers’ professional growth. In addition, teachers’ professional development remains underfunded, which contributes to a lack of effective job-embedded learning opportunities. Albania needs to revise its appraisal processes and teacher career structure and further invest in professional learning to help its existing teacher workforce develop more complex knowledge and skills. Albania also needs to address factors that may dissuade the best candidates from entering the teaching profession, including onerous procedures for certification. Finally, Albania needs to ensure that initial teacher education programmes are equipping future entrants with the student-centred approaches and other competencies they will need for the classroom.

    

copy the linklink copied!Introduction

Albania would benefit from making better use of appraisal processes and related teaching standards to ensure that future teachers and those already working in schools develop new competencies. This will support the country’s education reform. As a priority, Albania should revise the teacher career structure and the appraisal for promotion process. A new career structure should reward teachers for demonstrating more advanced competencies and assuming additional responsibilities. This will support the development of Albania’s existing teacher workforce, many of whom are mid-career or younger. Albania should also revise the regular appraisal process, which is largely administrative, to support teachers’ development. The country should ensure that this process leads to the provision of constructive feedback and participation in professional learning opportunities.

To complement these new processes, Albania should invest more in teachers’ continuous professional development. In a positive move, Albania has established forums for teachers’ collaborative learning, including local networks and school subject teams. Albania now needs to better support these groups to provide meaningful learning opportunities to teachers.

To ensure that new entrants to the profession are also equipped with the competencies they need to be effective, Albania should expand efforts to improve initial teacher preparation and selection. Albania should also fill the gap in support for teachers employed in their first teaching position, especially teachers working in the country’s remote and rural schools.

copy the linklink copied!Key features of an effective teacher appraisal system

Teacher appraisal refers to how teachers are assessed and given feedback on their performance and competencies. An effective appraisal system focuses on how well teachers are supporting the learning of all students. It provides teachers with support and incentives to continually develop their teaching competencies and assume roles that contribute to the development of the teaching profession overall. When used in this way, appraisal can positively influence teachers’ attitudes, motivation and classroom practices and, through this, help to improve students’ learning outcomes (OECD, 2013[1]). Countries combine different types of appraisal at different moments of a teacher’s career to inform ongoing learning, professional development and career progression (see Figure 3.1).

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Figure 3.1. Types of teacher appraisal

pictureNote: ITP: Initial Training Programme

Teacher standards

Standards provide a common reference point for teacher policies, including appraisal

A growing number of OECD countries have developed teacher standards to inform teacher policy and practices. Teacher standards describe what “good” teaching is and how it is demonstrated. They are used to align key teacher policies such as initial teacher education, certification and recertification, career progression, professional development and teacher appraisal. Teacher standards are an essential part of an effective teacher appraisal system as they provide a common reference point for both teachers and evaluators that establish clear expectations, encourage consistent judgement and focus appraisal on the key aspects of teaching that matter for learning (Santiago et al., 2013[2]).

Teacher standards typically include a general profile setting out expected teacher competencies. Some also include specialised profiles for particular types of teachers such as for more experienced teachers as part of a differentiated career path, or for teachers of different educational levels or subjects (Santiago et al., 2013[2]). Effective teacher standards are aligned with national education priorities, learning standards and curricula to ensure that teachers develop teaching competencies that will support national learning goals (Louden, 2000[3]).They are developed through broad consultation and grounded in national and international evidence of the teaching approaches shown to have the greatest impact on student learning.

Initial teacher preparation

Select candidates with strong academic skills and motivation to teach

Selecting teacher candidates with strong academic skills and the motivation to teach is key to ensure quality learning and teaching in schools. This influences how teachers are recruited both into initial teacher education programmes and into the teaching profession. A recognised feature of the world’s highest performing education systems is setting a high bar for entry into initial teacher education, with places accorded only to the most able school graduates (Barber and Mourshed, 2007[4]). One way to support this is by setting a minimum threshold on the national school graduation or tertiary entry examinations.

Set a rigorous certification process at the end of teacher education to ensure the selection of qualified new teachers

Initial certification at the end of teacher education serves as a gatekeeper to ensure that those who enter the profession have acquired the basic competencies required for good teaching. In most OECD countries, initial certification requires successful completion of teacher education programmes which provide at least a bachelor’s level qualification and increasingly a qualification at master’s level. However, many OECD countries require in addition that prospective teachers pass an external qualification or licensing examination, which can help to ensure fairness and consistency for selection and guarantee basic standards (OECD, 2014[5]). This is particularly important in countries were teaching is a “career-based” public service and lifetime employment is largely guaranteed, and where quality assurance in the tertiary sector is weak. Since an examination cannot recognise all the attributes that are important for teaching, countries with examinations often complement them with other forms of assessment such as interviews, which can capture motivation and socio-emotional skills. Finally, in most countries, full certification as a teacher depends on successfully passing a probation appraisal, where teachers can better demonstrate the attitudinal dimensions of good teaching.

Types of teacher appraisal

A probation period and appraisal provide new teachers with essential support in their first year(s) on the job

The first years of teaching are critical to build the foundations of good teaching practices. Most OECD countries set probation periods combining mentorship, classroom observations and formative feedback to ensure that new teachers are provided with support to develop their teaching practice (OECD, 2014[5]). Regular appraisal and feedback to teachers are key components of the probation period. In countries where the latter are not part of the probation period, retention rates of new teachers are often lower (OECD, 2017[6]).

In about half of OECD countries, successfully passing an appraisal at the end of the probation period is a requirement to become a fully certified teacher (see Figure 3.2). Probation appraisals help to ensure that decisions on full certification are based on an evaluation of all the key competencies for teaching. Appraisal by the school leadership team, the school board or the teacher’s mentor is the most common approach to full certification. These in-school actors can observe a trainee teacher’s practice throughout the year, providing a fuller picture of their readiness to enter the profession. In some countries, the probation appraisal also includes an external evaluator (OECD, 2013[1]). An external dimension for the probation appraisal is particularly important in education systems where the school leadership might lack capacity to make a valid and objective judgement about a teacher’s competencies.

Regularly appraising teachers provides meaningful feedback and informs classroom practices

Regularly appraising teachers to provide feedback on their professional practices is a common component of teacher appraisal in the majority of OECD countries (see Figure 3.2). Regular appraisal is primarily developmental, identifying a teacher’s strengths and their learning needs. It draws on information from classroom observations to provide specific feedback to support teachers’ continued professional growth (OECD, 2013[1]). Some OECD countries also use teachers’ self-evaluation and their teaching portfolio as part of regular appraisal, as they encourage self-reflection and provide a range of evidence on a teacher’s practices and needs for professional development (OECD, 2015[7]).

In most OECD countries, the regular appraisal of teachers is led by the school leadership team because they can develop a more accurate understanding of a teacher’s practice, based on multiple observations throughout the year. Since the leadership team is familiar to the teacher, this is also likely to create a more informal setting for appraisal to encourage open and honest feedback (OECD, 2013[1]).

The formative value of regular appraisal is strengthened when the findings are used to inform decisions on teachers’ professional development. In many countries, the school leader or leadership team is expected to work with teachers to establish individualised development plans, which define the type of activities a teacher will undertake to improve specific areas of practice. Such plans are most effective when they connect individual goals with school priorities for teacher development, as this helps to encourage teacher collaboration and peer-learning (Goe, Biggers and Croft, 2012[8]).

Appraisal for promotion informs teachers’ career progression and rewards performance

An increasing number of OECD countries are setting merit-based career structures to reward and encourage teachers to develop higher levels of competency and take on differentiated teaching roles. External appraisal is often used in countries that introduced a merit-based career structure to inform teacher career advancement. This appraisal is often voluntary, at the request of a teacher, and is led by an evaluator external to the school to ensure integrity and transparency. This type of appraisal evaluates teachers’ capacity to take on further responsibilities and rewards effective teaching (OECD, 2013[1]). Recognising and rewarding good teaching is important to ensure a motivated teaching profession. It is also helps to make the best use of teachers’ talent, by providing opportunities for career growth and retaining talented teachers (OECD, 2014[9]).

Some education systems require teachers to go through an appraisal process to be re-certified as a teacher every couple of years. This recertification process helps make sure that teachers are periodically appraised by an external appraising body even if they are not applying for promotion (Kitchen et al., 2017[10]).

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Figure 3.2. Types of teacher appraisals in OECD countries, 2015
General programmes, lower secondary education
Figure 3.2. Types of teacher appraisals in OECD countries, 2015

Source: OECD (2015[7]), Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2015-en.

copy the linklink copied!The teaching profession in Albania

Efforts to improve the quality of teaching in Albania have mostly focused on initial teacher education. To raise the calibre of entrants to the profession, Albania has introduced more selective entry requirements for initial teacher education programmes and is working to improve the quality of those programmes. However, once teachers enter the profession, incentives to continuously develop competencies and improve performance are limited. The career structure does not reward higher levels of performance and salary progression is relatively flat. While teachers do engage in professional learning, they receive little to no guidance about training that would address their needs.

The teaching workforce in Albania

Many teachers are young or at the mid-career point

Albania has seen a significant decline in its school age population, while the number of teachers has decreased only slightly and, at the upper secondary level, increased (see Figure 3.3). This has led to a decrease in the student-teacher ratio at the secondary level. Between 2012 and 2018, the ratio decreased from 13:1 to 10:1 at the lower secondary level, and from 18:1 to 13:1 at the upper secondary level (UIS, 2019[11]). There is, however, significant variation across municipalities, with ratios as low as 5:1 in low density rural areas such as Pustec and Dropull (INSTAT, 2019[12]). While the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth (hereby, the ministry) discussed optimising the country’s school network in the past, no plan was agreed (MoESY, 2014[13]). Without pro-active policies, the declining student-teacher ratio might continue in upcoming years as a significant number of teachers in Albania is young or at the mid-point in their careers, hired on a full-time civil servant contract. Only 28% of upper secondary and 26% of lower secondary teachers were above age 50 in 2018 (MoESY, 2018[14]), compared to an average of 38% and 35% respectively across the OECD in 2016 (OECD, 2018[15]).

There is a general oversupply of teachers with some areas of shortage

Albania is currently experiencing an oversupply of teachers, although some subject-specific and region-specific shortages remain (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]). For example, representatives of one education office reported to the review team that they had received 87 applications to be a language teacher for just one open position. However, as of 2015, the economically disadvantaged northeast of the country was facing particular challenges attracting teachers (UNESCO, 2017[17]). Positions with the highest number of vacancies across Albania were for teaching primary, physical education, mathematics and English-language (UNESCO, 2017[17]). Despite this, Albania does not have mechanisms in place to incentivise teachers to work in hard-to-staff areas of the country. Albania has also had difficulty attracting men to the profession, although no more than OECD countries. Women represented 85% of primary teachers in Albania compared to an average of 83% across OECD countries in 2016 (UIS, 2019[11]; OECD, 2018[15]).

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Figure 3.3. Trends in the number of teachers and students in Albania (2000-2017)
Index 2000 = 100
Figure 3.3. Trends in the number of teachers and students in Albania (2000-2017)

Source: UIS (2019[11]), UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http://uis.unesco.org (accessed on 15 July 2019).

Teacher career structure and salary progression

Albania’s teacher career structure does not encourage higher levels of performance

Albania has different qualification categories for teachers that are associated with progressive salary increases. However, unlike a number of OECD countries with career structures that encourage and reward teachers for their professional growth, higher qualification categories are not associated with higher levels of performance or more complex responsibilities (Schleicher, 2012[18]). The first level in Albania’s teacher career structure is “teacher” followed by the three regulated qualification categories of “qualified”, “specialist” and “master” (see Table 3.1). Promotion is based on years of experience, the accumulation of accredited continuous professional development credits on any topic, and an appraisal process that is primarily exam-based. Although teachers can take on different roles throughout their careers (e.g. mentor, subject team head), these are not explicitly connected to the qualification categories.

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Table 3.1. Teacher career structure in Albania

Qualification category

Years of work experience required

Salary increase

Number as of 2018-19

(primary to upper secondary)

Qualified

At least 5

5% salary increase over a “teacher”

4 982

Specialist

At least 10

10% salary increase over qualified teacher

7 949

Master

At least 20

10% salary increase over specialist teacher

10 681

Source: European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice (2018[19]), Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances 2016/17, https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/national-policies/eurydice/sites/eurydice/files/ teacher_and_school_head_salaries_2016_17.pdf (accessed on 18 November 2019); MoESY Statistics Centre (2019[20]), Teacher qualifications based on the pre-university education levels, Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, Tirana.

Teachers’ salary progression is relatively flat

Teachers’ average salaries are comparable to other professions in the public sector but their salary progression is flat by international standards. As of 2017, the average gross monthly teachers’ salary in Albania across school levels was 466 euros, and the average monthly salary for general upper secondary teachers was 490 euros (Council of Ministers, 2017[21]). This was higher than the average monthly salary for Albania’s public sector employees (387 euros) in 2015 (UNESCO, 2017[17]). Teachers’ salaries grow by 2% each year to match the annual rate of inflation, with more significant increases when teachers advance to a new qualification category (Council of Ministers, 2017[21]). It takes an Albanian teacher about 25 years to reach the top of the salary scale, which is comparable to the average of 28 years that it takes teachers in Europe to reach theirs (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[19]). However, the maximum salary in Albania is only 1.2 times larger than the minimum (The World Bank, 2019[22]). This is significantly smaller than the average difference across OECD countries (1.8), as well as in other European countries such as Lithuania (1.4), Slovak Republic (1.7) and Slovenia (1.8) (OECD, 2018[15]).

Initial teacher education

Pre-tertiary teachers are required to obtain a master’s degree

Initial teacher education is offered by nine public universities, including the University of Tirana and University of Elbasan, as well as some private higher education institutions. Albania’s teachers are required to obtain a second-cycle (master’s) degree in order to be certified to teach in the country’s public schools at the primary and secondary level. This is a higher academic requirement to become a primary teacher than in two-thirds of OECD countries (OECD, 2014[23]). Initial teacher education programmes for primary teachers are four or five years in length. Those for secondary teachers are two years in length and, as consecutive initial teacher education programmes, completed after obtaining a three-year first cycle degree in a particular subject. The length of initial teacher training is comparable to the average in OECD countries for all levels (OECD, 2014[23]).

Albania is making efforts to improve the initial preparation of teachers

There is no core content common to all initial teacher education programmes in Albania and significant variation exists across programmes. Research conducted in Albania in 2016 found that programmes were not sufficiently addressing the new pre-tertiary curriculum (AQAPUE, 2016[24]). The practicum component has also been a particular weakness, with some programmes lacking sufficient practice teaching opportunities.

The ministry is taking steps to improve the quality of initial teacher education programmes, but progress is slow. Albania passed a Higher Education Law in 2015 to standardise the curriculum content of second-cycle initial teacher education programmes, but this change has not yet taken effect. The government has brought together working groups of university representatives to develop standards describing the competencies teacher candidates should develop in different curriculum areas. However, this work is not aligned with the country’s existing teaching standards.

Albania recently raised the bar for entry to initial teacher education programmes for primary teachers

Albania has strengthened entry requirements for initial teacher education programmes in response to concerns about the calibre of entrants. In the past, entrants had lower grade point averages than those applying to other programmes such as sociology and sciences (Duda and Xhaferri, 2013[25]; Haxhiymeri and Mita, 2015[26]). Beginning in 2018, applicants to initial teacher education programmes at the bachelor’s degree level were required to have an average mark of 7 out of 10 in their combined upper secondary education and State Matura Examination results, compared to an average of 6.5 for other bachelor’s programmes. The required average mark was increased again to 7.5 for the 2019-20 school year (Gazetta Shqiptare, 2019[27]). A comparable change has not been made to the admission requirements for consecutive initial teacher education programmes leading to a master’s degree. This means that there is no minimum requirement for entry to programmes that prepare future secondary teachers.

Quality assurance mechanisms are not yet fully implemented

None of the initial teacher education programmes offered by Albania’s nine public universities have been subject to an external quality assurance review (although programmes offered by private providers have been accredited). The accreditation of public higher education programmes by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education began in 2019. However, public providers of initial teacher education programmes will reportedly not seek programme accreditation until the curriculum standards described above have been finalised.

Teachers’ continuous professional development

Albania has a centralised process for identifying teachers’ training needs at the national level. The Agency for the Assurance of Quality in Pre-University Education (hereby, the Quality Assurance Agency), formerly the Education Development Institute (see Chapter 1), oversees teachers’ professional development in Albania and works with the ministry to develop a list of teachers’ training needs every four years. This list is based on a survey of teachers, exam and international student assessment results, and curriculum changes, among other sources. It informs the Quality Assurance Agency’s development of mandatory training on national education priorities. It is also used to accredit training modules that are offered to teachers by a range of providers, including higher education institutions, private agencies and non-governmental organisations. Over the past several years, Albania has made efforts to ensure the implementation of accreditation and monitoring processes to assure the quality of the training programmes.

Teachers lack support to identify their individual learning needs

Individual teachers receive little to no guidance about which training would help them address their own learning needs. Teachers are required to complete three days of accredited training (equivalent to six hours per day and one credit in total) per year in order to be eligible for promotion to a higher qualification category. They can take training on any topic, and there is some evidence that they sign up for modules that are perceived to be the easiest (Duda and Xhaferri, 2013[25]). This suggests that teachers participate in training for credit accumulation rather than for genuine learning and development.

Funding for continuous professional development is limited

The continuous professional development of teachers is underfunded (European Commission, 2017[28]). The Quality Assurance Agency’s predecessor, the Education Development Institute, lacked the funds to provide teachers with more than a day of mandatory training on curriculum changes per year, which stakeholders described as insufficient to meet teachers’ needs. The state budget that is disseminated regionally and locally includes funding for teachers’ continuous professional development, but this is mostly used to co-ordinate and organise the professional learning networks. No funds are passed on to schools or teachers to subsidise training. While Albania has made efforts to reduce the cost of training modules that lead to credits for promotion, teachers interviewed by the review team still found it prohibitive.

Albania is promoting teachers’ collaborative learning

Albania has introduced an innovative method for delivering professional development to teachers. Professional learning networks provide the majority of teacher training on curriculum changes and national education priorities using the train-the-trainer method. There are 1 038 across the country. The ministry’s local education offices organise the networks and appoint a teacher or principal as a professional network manager to lead discussions and act as chief trainer. The Quality Assurance Agency trains these managers on priority education areas but not on how to facilitate teachers’ learning. Each network includes up to 30 teachers and principals from three to five schools, all of whom share the same teaching profile (i.e. teach the same subject or the same level).

Teachers reported to the review team that the networks are helpful but that they have not led to changes to their practices, in part because principals are not expected to help teachers mobilise what they have learnt in their schools. There is also no alignment between the work of the professional learning networks and school subject teams. The latter are teacher-led groups that are also organised by teaching profile. They conduct learning activities for teachers in each school (e.g. discussions, classroom observations), but they do not receive any central or local guidance or resources for their work.

copy the linklink copied!Teacher appraisal in Albania

Albania has four distinct teacher appraisal processes, including appraisal for initial certification, promotion and reward, and regular annual appraisal. However, the appraisal processes are not well-designed to encourage teachers to continuously learn and develop their competencies. For example, appraisal for promotion includes a review of the teacher’s portfolio of work, but the majority of the appraisal is based on a written exam that does not authentically measure teaching competence.

Table 3.2. Teacher appraisal in Albania

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Types of appraisal

Reference standards

Body responsible

Guideline documents

Process

Frequency

Use

Initial certification

Completion of initial teacher education

None

Faculties of education

None

Students must obtain a second-cycle university degree

Once

Allows graduates to apply for the internship

Appraisal of interns

Eight competencies in the Practice Teacher Evaluation form

Mentor, principal, and Internship Appraisal Committee of the local education office

Order 336 (14.07.2011)

Two stages. 1) Appraisal by mentor based on classroom observations, interviews, and a portfolio review. The principal also assesses two competencies. 2) Appraisal by Internship Appraisal Committee based on an interview, a portfolio review, and the results of the mentor’s appraisal

Once, at the end of the internship

For completion of internship and approval to take the state exam

State exam

None

Educational Services Centre; initial teacher education lecturers draft the exam questions

None

Conducted electronically twice per year. 50 multiple-choice questions on knowledge of subject area (70%) and methodology, curriculum and pedagogy (30%)

Once, after successful completion of the internship

For teacher certification

Regular appraisal

Standards are not used, although there are Professional Standards of Elementary Teachers, and Professional Standards of Lower and Upper Secondary Teachers

Principal or deputy principal

None. National guidelines are currently being developed by the Quality Assurance Agency

Based on the teacher’s annual plan, portfolio and classroom observations

Annually

To improve teaching and learning outcomes

Appraisal for promotion

None

Portfolio Evaluation Commission of the local education office; the Quality Assurance Agency (exam)

None. The Quality Assurance Agency sets out the exam topics

Two stages. 1) Portfolio review by the local education office. 2) Written exam

Voluntary for teachers with requisite work experience and professional development credits

For promotion to a higher qualification category and salary increase

Appraisal for reward

None

Varies by reward; ministry, local education offices and schools

None

Varies. May be based on criteria like regular appraisal results and student achievement on national exams

Annually

For monetary reward

Teaching standards have been developed but are not used consistently

Albania first introduced standards for teachers in 2013 and revised them in 2016. These Professional Teaching Standards cover all of the areas of teaching that research recognises as important (i.e. planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities) (Danielson, 2013[29]). They also reference the use of student-centred teaching practices related to the new pre-tertiary curriculum (e.g. conducting performance-based assessments of higher-order competencies). However, they are not used consistently in the education system. For example, while the Quality Assurance Agency may take the standards into account when identifying teachers’ training needs, they are not commonly used for teacher appraisal nor to inform initial teacher education programme design and accreditation. Contrary to practice in a growing number of OECD countries, the teaching standards in Albania are not differentiated according to the career structure; teachers at different qualification categories are not expected to demonstrate different levels of competency in relation to each standard.

Requirements for initial certification and entry to the profession are onerous

In Albania, new graduates of initial teacher education programmes must complete an unpaid academic year of professional practice, or internship, in a school, pass a state exam for certification and pass another competitive test to gain employment (see Figure 3.4). This entry to the profession is more onerous than in most OECD and European countries. It may make teaching a less attractive profession to the best students, particularly those who are concerned about financial constraints.

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Figure 3.4. Different steps required to be a fully certified and employed teacher in Albania
Figure 3.4. Different steps required to be a fully certified and employed teacher in Albania

Internship is unpaid and does not lead to employment in the placement school

The year of professional practice was first introduced as a requirement for teacher certification in Albania in 2011, reportedly to address concerns that initial teacher education programmes were not consistently providing teacher candidates with sufficient practice teaching opportunities. The internship is considered part of initial teacher education. This model is unusual across Europe, but where it does exist (e.g. Austria, France, Germany and Luxembourg), interns are generally remunerated for their work, unlike in Albania (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]). This means that teacher candidates in Albania must wait five or six years for their first paid teaching position, given the length of initial teacher education and the internship. In contrast to OECD countries, the internship in Albania does not lead to employment in the school in which the intern is placed (Duda, Golubeva and Clifford-Amos, 2013[30]). Once employed, new teachers do not receive supports, such as a formal induction or mentorship programme, to help orient them to their new school or become effective in their first classroom.

There are challenges associated with mentorship during the internship. Interns work in a school under the supervision of an experienced teacher mentor, but there is no mandatory training for the mentor role. While there are regulated selection criteria (e.g. mentors should have reached the “specialist” qualification category), the country has found it difficult to find a sufficient number of teachers who meet them (MoESY, 2014[13]). Mentors are supposed to have a reduced teaching workload, with one quarter being covered by their intern, but this does not always happen in practice (Duda and Xhaferri, 2013[25]).

Interns are appraised during their year of professional practice

The appraisal of interns during their year of professional practice is based on multiple sources of evidence and involves appraisers who are internal and external to the school. While this is positive, appraisers receive no training and limited support for their role in the appraisal process. In the first stage of the appraisal, the intern’s mentor conducts classroom observations, interviews and a review of the intern’s portfolio, which contains evidence of teaching practices (e.g. sample methods used to develop students’ cross-curricular competencies) and a self-appraisal. The mentor completes a Practice Teacher Evaluation Form in which they appraise the intern against eight practising teacher competencies according to a four-point scale (very good, good, sufficient and poor). In the second stage, a five-person Internship Appraisal Committee established by the head of the local education office decides whether the intern has successfully completed the internship. This is based on a review of the mentor’s Practice Teacher Evaluation Form and the portfolio, as well as an interview. Successful completion means that the intern can take the state exam for certification. An initial poor result leads to an extension of the internship, while multiple poor results mean that the intern has failed the internship.

New teachers must pass two exams in order to be certified and gain employment

In Albania, new entrants to the teaching profession must pass the state exam for teacher certification and then the Teachers for Albania competitive employment test in order to be eligible for employment (see Table 3.3). The state exam was first implemented in 2012. National data indicate that, in 2018, it was taken by 2 278 novice teachers. The Teachers for Albania test was introduced in 2014 with the intent of making the hiring of teachers more meritocratic and transparent. Approximately 5 000 teachers who are seeking employment take it each year (MoESY, 2018[14]), including new teachers, unemployed teachers and those who have been made redundant by a reduction in their teaching load. Although the tests are used for different purposes, they cover some of the same content areas.

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Table 3.3. Albania’s teacher certification and placement exams

The State Exam for Teacher Certification

The Teachers for Albania Test

Institution

Educational Services Centre

Quality Assurance Agency

Components

Subject knowledge

Pedagogy

- Questions are based on the curriculum of the initial teacher education programme

Subject knowledge

Methodology and pedagogy

Official school documentation

Communication and ethics

Spelling of the Albanian language

- Questions are based on the pre-tertiary curriculum

Eligibility criteria

Successfully completing initial teacher education

Successfully passing the state exam

Question format

50 multiple-choice questions

Multiple-choice questions

Grading

Candidates must earn 50% on the exam to pass

There is no cut-off mark.

Teachers are ranked for appointment to the different local education offices to which they have applied based on a combination of the points they are awarded for: a national review of their application file (e.g. state exam results, grade point average in initial teacher education); and their results on the Teachers for Albania test.

Primary purpose

Certification

Placement in public schools

Source: MoESY (2018[14]), OECD Review of Evaluation and Assessment: Country Background Report for Albania, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Tirana.

Albania no longer conducts appraisals for probation

Until recently, all teachers who were newly appointed to a school were appraised for completion of probation by the principal in their first year of employment. This appraisal was discontinued in 2019. The appraisal included classroom observations and a review of students’ marks. The principal was required to take into account the opinion of the school’s parent council and the psycho-social services commission in the regional education directorate or local education office. These bodies were not provided with guidance or training for this responsibility, and they determined the methods they would use to form their opinion of the teacher. If their assessment was negative, the teacher’s employment was terminated. Internationally, parental involvement in this type of high-stakes teacher appraisal is not common. Parents generally lack pedagogical expertise and a firm understanding of the characteristics associated with high-quality teaching (OECD, 2013[1]).

Regular appraisal is not developmental

Teachers in Albania are subject to a regular appraisal by their principal (or deputy principal) on an annual basis, but it is more of an administrative process than one that supports their ongoing development. Unlike the practice in a majority of European countries, results are not used to identify teachers’ professional development needs (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]). The appraisal includes an assessment of the teacher’s annual plan, which consists primarily of numerical targets in relation to six areas (e.g. students’ estimated and actual grade point averages, the teachers’ professional development credits, papers presented, the percentage of absences) rather than qualitative descriptions of teachers’ performance and learning objectives. Teachers are also required to maintain a portfolio, but it contains only administrative material (e.g. CV, training certificates) rather than evidence of teaching practice. Classroom observations, which are part of principals’ regular weekly duties, are supposed to inform the appraisal, but they are not clearly integrated into the process and are not systematically used as a source of evidence in providing feedback to teachers. The Quality Assurance Agency plans to develop guidelines to support implementation of the appraisal, but at present, appraisers do not receive preparation or guidance for their role.

Appraisal for promotion to a higher qualification category does not assess higher levels of competency

Teachers seeking promotion are appraised in a similar manner and against the same competencies regardless of the qualification category. By contrast, the majority of European education systems with multi-level career structures require teachers to demonstrate specific competencies in order to be promoted (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]). The appraisal includes two stages: a portfolio review and a written exam. A three-person Portfolio Evaluation Commission appointed by the head of the local education office conducts the portfolio review. While the portfolio provides authentic evidence of teachers’ work (e.g. an annual subject plan, a model lesson demonstrating student-centred teaching practices), the majority of the appraisal (70 out of 100 points) is based on the results of the exam. Testing teachers for career advancement, rather than assessing teachers’ work in the classroom and school, is uncommon among OECD countries (OECD, 2015[7]). The exam is developed by the Quality Assurance Agency and consists of questions in two parts: (1) official documents, subject programmes, teaching and learning methodology, ethics and communication, spelling and the Albanian language; and (2) the scientific content of the subject. Teachers are granted an overall score out of 100 on the appraisal, resulting in a rating of excellent (A), very good (B), good (C), fair (D), or poor (E). Teachers must earn the minimum points (or 50%) on both parts of the exam in order to pass. Teachers’ regular appraisal results are not reviewed as part of the appraisal for promotion process, which means that promotion decisions do not take into account the input of individuals who regularly monitor teachers’ performance (OECD, 2013[1]).

Appraisals for reward are conducted at multiple levels of the education system

The ministry, local education offices, and schools each conduct a yearly competition to grant a financial reward to one teacher for their products or outputs (e.g. projects relating to subjects of the curriculum, innovations in teaching) and/or the achievement of their students in arts, sports, literature or science. Each school also issues a financial reward to the teacher “most qualified for professional merit” based on a vote of the Teachers’ Council. Rewarding individual teachers for student outcomes is not common among OECD countries (OECD, 2015[7]). It risks rewarding teachers for factors that are beyond their control, such as student motivation, family support and school resources, all of which can impact student learning (OECD, 2013[1]). Given that regular appraisal results may be among the criteria used to rank teachers (MoESY, 2018[14]), these rewards may also reinforce the view that teachers should demonstrate achievement in this appraisal rather than treat it as an opportunity for learning and growth. There is also limited trust among teachers and school actors that decisions about granting the rewards are made transparently, in particular for rewards granted at the local education office level.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issues

Albania has made efforts to improve student learning outcomes by introducing a number of education reforms, including a new competency-based curriculum and a new assessment framework more focused on formative assessment. These reforms necessitate a deep shift in methods towards more student-centred teaching. To support this, Albania should introduce a new teacher career structure and appraisal for promotion process that reward teachers for continuously developing their competencies. Unlike the present appraisal process, a new system should require teachers to demonstrate more advanced competencies to access higher career stages. Teachers should be appraised against revised teaching standards that help to re-orient teaching practices and build understanding among teachers about the changing expectations of their role.

In addition, improvements to initial teacher preparation and supports for teachers in their first year of employment will help to boost new teachers’ effectiveness. A more developmental regular appraisal process that is focused on addressing teachers’ learning needs, as well as greater investment in continuous professional development, will also support teachers’ professional growth. Albania should pay particular attention to improving the capacity of collaborative professional learning networks and school subject teams.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 3.1. Encouraging teachers to improve their competencies throughout their career

Albania’s appraisal for promotion process does not encourage or reward high levels of performance. The appraisal is based primarily on the results of an exam that assesses teachers for the same minimum level of knowledge and skills throughout their careers. Remuneration is tied more to teachers’ years of experience than their performance or duties. This is contrary to practices in a growing number of OECD countries that use their career structures to motivate teachers to continuously develop and share their expertise by taking on more complex tasks (Schleicher, 2012[18]). Albania should revise their career structure to connect higher career stages to higher levels of competency and new roles and responsibilities for teachers, in addition to higher pay. This should be underpinned by a new appraisal process that assesses whether teachers have the knowledge and skills they will need for a new career stage.

Recommendation 3.1.1. Create a teacher career structure that encourages teachers to develop higher competency levels

The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency will need to consider what type of career structure would best serve Albania’s needs. In developing a new structure, they will need to formalise the relationship between career stages and teacher roles and responsibilities. They will also need to identify the competencies teachers should have at different career stages and ensure that teachers have professional learning opportunities to develop those competencies.

Consider developing a two-track career structure

The ministry should consider developing a career structure with two tracks: one for teaching and one for leadership. This type of career structure would encourage teachers to develop competencies to assume duties related to pedagogy (e.g. mentor) or leadership (e.g. subject team head, deputy principal or principal). In this way, it would support teachers’ professional growth without requiring them to leave the classroom and also better prepare future school leaders (see Chapter 4). In developing such a model, the ministry can learn from the experience of Singapore, which was one of the leading countries to develop a multi-tack career structure for teachers (see Box 3.1).

In the new career structure, Albania could (see Table 3.4):

  • include “novice teacher” as an initial career stage that corresponds with a probation/induction year;

  • diverge the career structure into teaching and leadership tracks after a second “teacher” level; and

  • include distinct career stages within each track.

For example, the teaching track could contain three or more stages, similar to the number of existing qualification categories (qualified, specialist and master). Three- to five-stage differentiated career structures exist in a number of OECD countries (OECD, 2019[31]).

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Box 3.1. Singapore’s multi-track teacher career structure

In Singapore, teachers can opt for three horizontally differentiated tracks during their career development: the teaching track, the leadership track and the senior specialist track. Each one contains multiple stages or positions, with corresponding salaries. Teachers can move between tracks providing they satisfy the standards and criteria for a particular position.

The teaching track is for teachers who want to further develop their pedagogical capacity. It includes four stages, beginning with Senior Teacher and ending with Principal Master Teacher. The leadership track is intended to identify school leaders as early as possible in their teaching career and help them develop their leadership skills. It includes eight stages that encompass school and system leadership positions. Finally, the specialist track is intended to support educational development. This track is designed for teachers who want to specialise in a specific area of knowledge (e.g. educational psychologists).

Promotion along the teaching track is informed by the results of annual performance appraisals over a period of three years and the review of a professional portfolio containing evidence of teaching practice. Teachers are appraised against competencies and standards that relate to each stage of the career track. Once promoted, the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education (NIE) offer teachers free courses and trainings for their new positions.

Source: Lay Choo, T. and Darling-Hammond, L. (2011[32]), Creating Effective Teachers and Leaders in Singapore, Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in High-Performing Education Systems, http://edpolicy.stanford.edu (accessed on 25 September 2019).

Establish roles and responsibilities for the stages of the career structure

Unlike differentiated teacher career structures in other countries, Albania’s qualification categories are only loosely connected to the country’s existing teacher roles and responsibilities. For example, selection criteria for some roles, like subject team heads and professional network managers, reference years of work experience rather than specific qualification categories. In other countries, like Singapore, the connection between career stages and teacher roles and responsibilities is much more explicit (see Box 3.1). The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should work to link teacher roles and responsibilities to each career stage within each track of the new career structure. This should involve a review of existing roles and responsibilities and consideration of new ones that could be created to support the country’s education reform efforts. For example, the role of “instructional coach” could be created to help teachers develop their teaching methods. In the teaching track, roles and responsibilities would support teachers’ professional learning and classroom instruction, while in the leadership track, they would support school and possibly system leadership (see Chapter 4). Table 3.4 presents a proposal for how these roles could be linked to the various career stages.

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Table 3.4. Examples of roles and responsibilities for the teacher career structure

Teaching track

Leadership track

Level 1

Novice teacher*

Level 2

Teacher

Level 3

Mentor of teacher candidates

Mentor of novice teachers

Subject team head

Level 4

Marker of national assessments and exams

Evaluator of training modules

Instructional coach*

Professional network manager

Deputy principal

Newly appointed principal*

Level 5

Teacher trainer

School assessment coordinator*

Professional development coordinator*

External teacher appraiser*

Contracted school inspector*

Principal

External teacher appraiser*

Contracted school inspector*

Level 6

Curriculum designer*

Pedagogical researcher*

Member of teacher appointment assessment commission

Experienced principal*

Local education office director

Note: Suggestions for new roles and responsibilities are marked with an *.

Source: Authors.

Revise the professional teaching standards to define competencies associated with different levels in the teacher career structure

Albania’s teaching standards do not provide teachers with a sense of the knowledge and skills they need to develop in order to advance in their careers, nor do they support appraisers in evaluating whether teachers are ready for promotion. To address this, Albania should revise the standards to identify the competencies teachers will need for each career stage. The revised standards and related competencies should be clear, specific and relatively detailed. This will help to ensure a common understanding of what good teaching looks like to guide a new appraisal for promotion process (see below). The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers provide an example of this approach (see Box 3.2). To support effective teaching throughout a teacher’s career and to reinforce the shift towards more student-centred practices, the revised standards and related competencies should be used to inform:

  • the design, approval and accreditation of initial teacher education programmes (see Policy issue 3.2);

  • the contents of the state exam for entry to the profession (see Policy issue 3.2);

  • all types of teacher appraisal; and

  • the development of continuous professional learning activities for teachers.

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Box 3.2. Australian professional standards for teachers

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is responsible for developing and refining the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. In 2009, they consulted with all key education stakeholders, including teachers, teachers’ associations and unions to draft new standards. They then contracted a university to conduct a psychometric validation of the draft standards that included two online national surveys and focus group workshops in every state and territory in the country, which gathered input from 6 000 teachers across hundreds of schools.

The teaching standards are organised into three domains of teaching: professional knowledge, practice and professional engagement. Each standard includes descriptors of expected competencies at four career stages, from graduate to lead teacher. They are used to inform the continuum of a teacher’s development. For example, “graduate” competencies are used to accredit initial teacher education programmes. They also serve as a quality-assurance mechanism by providing consistent benchmarks to assess teachers’ performance, and a means to recognise high-quality teaching.

The following table shows the competency descriptors for one component of Standard 5: Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning:

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Focus area 5.1: Assess student learning

Graduate

Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning

Proficient

Develop, select and use informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning

Highly accomplished

Develop and apply a comprehensive range of assessment strategies to diagnose learning needs, comply with curriculum requirements and support colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of their approaches to assessment

Lead

Evaluate school assessment policies and strategies to support colleagues with: using assessment data to diagnose learning needs, complying with curriculum, system and/or school assessment requirements and using a range of assessment strategies

Source: OECD (2013[33]), Teachers for the 21st Century: Using Evaluation to Improve Teaching, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264193864-en; AITSL (2011[34]), Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, www.aitsl.edu.au/docs/default-source/apst-resources/australian_professional_standard_for_ teachers_final.pdf (accessed on 18 November 2019).

Consult with teachers on revisions to the teaching standards

Albania’s current teaching standards are not widely used. It is unclear whether practising teachers were involved in their development. Internationally, bodies that work for and with teachers, like the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, often take responsibility for consulting teachers on the development of standards (see Box 3.2). This is essential to ensure teachers feel ownership of the standards and support their use to measure performance (OECD, 2010[35]). In Albania, the Quality Assurance Agency should conduct national consultations with experienced practising teachers, representatives of the teachers’ unions and other key education stakeholders on the revisions and the development of new competency levels.

Offer professional learning opportunities that allow teachers to develop competencies for career advancement

Teachers in Albania are required to accumulate one credit of training per year to be eligible for promotion to a higher qualification category. They are not encouraged to participate in training to address weaknesses or strengthen their capabilities rather than simply earn credits. To support teachers’ professional growth in areas identified as key to effective teaching and career advancement, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should:

  • Develop and accredit training modules that relate to the revised teaching standards. At present, Albania categorises accredited training topics into five fields (i.e. ethics, communication and pedagogy; curriculum planning; teaching and learning; cross-curricular; and ICT in teaching and learning). These fields are broad and do not align precisely with the teaching standards. In the future, the revised teaching standards should be a key document that informs the systematic development and accreditation of training modules for teachers. The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency might also consider collecting aggregate data on regular teacher appraisal results to determine particular areas of training needed in relation to the revised standards (see Policy issue 3.3).

  • Clearly communicate professional development opportunities to teachers. The Quality Assurance Agency’s predecessor, the Education Development Institute, developed a portal to provide information to teachers about accredited training modules. While it is a helpful resource, the Quality Assurance Agency could re-design it to provide greater guidance to teachers about training that would meet their needs. For example, the portal should clearly identify the different teaching standards to which training modules relate. It should also allow teachers to search for available training modules by targeted standard rather than by training agency.

Recommendation 3.1.2. Revise the appraisal for promotion process to ensure teachers’ readiness to take on new roles and responsibilities

In Albania, the type of exam that is used in the appraisal for promotion process may be appropriate to measure a baseline threshold for entry to the profession. However, it is not well designed to meaningfully assess whether teachers have developed knowledge, skills and attitudes for the next stage of their careers. Albania should replace the exam with a process that draws on real evidence of teachers’ work to assess whether they have developed the competencies to take on new roles and responsibilities.

This will not only make the appraisal a more authentic measure of teachers’ competencies but also encourage teachers’ continuous development. Albania should also ensure that appraisals are undertaken by well-trained and objective appraisers.

Draw on multiple sources of evidence to authentically assess teachers’ competencies and motivation

Albania should revise the appraisal for promotion process to gather multiple sources of evidence of teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes. This will ensure that the appraisal, which has such high stakes for a teacher’s career, is based on as much evidence of a teacher’s work as possible (OECD, 2013[1]). To ensure consistent judgements are made about teachers’ performance, their work should be appraised against the competency levels in the revised teaching standards. The appraisal process should vary as teachers advance in their careers. Teachers should be required to demonstrate, and appraisers should look for, evidence of more complex competencies for higher career stages. For example, when reviewing a portfolio or conducting a site visit to appraise a teacher for the highest levels of the teaching track, appraisers might look for evidence that teachers are having an impact not just on their students’ learning but also on other teachers’ practices.

A combination of the following sources would provide broad evidence of teachers’ competencies:

  • Revised professional portfolios. In the current appraisal for promotion process, the portfolio provides evidence of teachers’ classroom practices (e.g. lesson plans demonstrating student-centred teaching practices). While this is positive, the portfolio does not relate to the teaching standards. As such, it does not allow appraisers to determine whether teachers possess the knowledge and skills that are most important to their role. Albania should revise the portfolio to require teachers to include material that demonstrates that they have developed competencies for a specific career stage in relation to the teaching standards.

  • Classroom observations or site visits. Observations of teachers’ interactions with students are the most important source of information for all types of teacher appraisal (OECD, 2013[1]). They offer a wealth of direct evidence of teaching that cannot be gleaned from proxies of teaching quality like portfolios.

  • Interviews. These provide opportunities for appraisers to ask teachers questions to assess their readiness for career advancement, as well as to obtain information about the thinking that lies behind the teaching practices that are observed in the classroom (Roelofs and Sanders, 2007[36]).

  • Qualitative input from the teacher’s regular appraiser. Currently, a copy of the results of a teacher’s regular appraisal is included in the portfolio, but it is not used to inform decisions about promotion. In order to obtain a full picture of a teacher’s performance, research recommends that career advancement appraisals take into account input from those involved in the regular, school-based appraisal of teachers (OECD, 2013[1]). In Albania, this could mean that appraisers collect a written statement from the teacher’s principal or conduct an interview with them during the site visit that addresses how the teacher’s regular appraisal results and performance demonstrate readiness for promotion.

Albania might consider introducing a staged appraisal process to ensure efficiency while also making sure that final appraisal decisions are based on a range of evidence. For example, in Australia’s appraisal for Highly Accomplished Teacher or Lead Teacher status, teachers must initially complete a first stage in which two appraisers review their documentation (e.g. evidence of teaching practice, observation reports from an in-school appraiser). Teachers who pass are eligible for a second stage, which includes a site visit and interviews with the teacher and their referees (AITSL, 2017[37]).

Create a new cadre of external evaluators to undertake appraisal for promotion

Albania’s current Portfolio Evaluation Commissions in local education offices would not be appropriate evaluators for the appraisal for promotion process outlined above. Members include a curriculum specialist in the local education office, a principal and an experienced teacher. They are not trained for their role as appraisers, which is essential to ensure that appraisals are conducted effectively (OECD, 2013[1]). Appraisers should also have in-depth and preferably recent experience in the classroom so that they can make meaningful judgements about teachers’ performance. This is not a requirement for all members of the commission.

To ensure that appraisers are highly-proficient educators and well-prepared, Albania should consider contracting and training external appraisers to conduct the revised appraisal for promotion process. External appraisers could include experienced teachers, and staff of the Quality Assurance Agency with high levels of competency in pedagogy. This would allow staff in local education offices to focus their efforts on supporting schools rather than appraising teachers. It would also be a financially feasible approach, unlike funding dedicated appraisal staff within each local education office. The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should establish procedures for the selection of the external appraisers. The Quality Assurance Agency or a national committee within the Quality Assurance Agency (see below) should select, contract and train them either centrally or in partnership with regional directorates. In developing this new approach, Albania could look to Chile as an example of a country where contracted experienced teachers are well-trained to serve as external evaluators (see Box 3.3).

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Box 3.3. Experienced teachers as appraisers in Chile

One key characteristic of Chile’s teacher appraisal approach (Docentemás) is the high involvement of practising teachers as evaluators. Practising teachers can apply to two key roles in the appraisal process: (1) as evaluators of teacher portfolios in one of the centres set up for this purpose by Docentemás in various universities; and (2) as peer evaluators who conduct peer interviews and participate in the municipal evaluation commissions.

For both roles, intensive preparation processes have been set up to build the capacity of those selected. The portfolio evaluators are trained in a one-week training session, where they work together with specialists on concrete examples of different performance levels. The training sessions comprise individual and group work in which teachers discuss judgements about proficiency levels. This is followed by a test period where the evaluators apply what they have learnt, internalise the portfolio evaluation processes and benefit from group discussion about the results. The peer evaluators are selected and trained by the national Docentemás team or the local university in charge of the process. Only teachers who have been previously rated as Outstanding or Proficient can apply to become peer evaluators. They receive training in two full-day seminars, during which they learn about the six questions to be asked in the interview and the rubrics to be applied in assigning performance levels. The training also includes exercises and feedback to the participants. At the end of this training phase, there is another selection process and not all of those initially selected will be retained as peer evaluators.

Source: Santiago et al. (2013[2]), Teacher Evaluation in Chile 2013, OECD Reviews of Evaluation and Assessment in Education, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264172616-en.

Establish a national committee to oversee appraisal for promotion

Albania should consider establishing a national committee of teaching experts to manage the appraisal for promotion process. The committee would oversee the work of the contracted external evaluators. Albania could initially create this committee within the Quality Assurance Agency. This would be consistent with the agency’s role in developing the teaching standards and supporting teachers’ professional growth. It would ensure that the appraisal process is managed by individuals with a sophisticated understanding of teaching as it is practised throughout a teacher’s career. This committee could also be responsible for the appraisal for registration process (see Policy issue 3.2).

In the long term, Albania might consider establishing a separate professional self-regulatory body for teachers to take responsibility for the teaching standards and the requirements for teachers’ certification and promotion. This would help Albania to create a stronger professional identity for teachers, making them accountable for the performance and development of their profession. This type of professional body exists in a number of different OECD countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom (Scotland) and New Zealand. 

Provide guidelines and tools to support the work of external appraisers

Appraisers are not currently provided with clear guidance and tools to help them make consistent assessments of whether a teacher is ready for career advancement. The Quality Assurance Agency should develop guidelines that clearly describe how appraisers should conduct each element of the appraisal for promotion process.

The agency should also develop tools to guide appraisers’ judgements to ensure that the appraisal is implemented consistently in a way that is objective and fair. Important tools would include:

  • Appraisal indicators and descriptors. These help appraisers make consistent, objective judgements about teachers’ performance. Indicators tell appraisers what criteria to look for when appraising teachers for competencies related to each standard (e.g. “clear and accurate classroom explanations”) (Danielson, 2013[29]). Descriptors provide concrete descriptions of how a teacher might demonstrate the competencies. In Albania, these should help appraisers assess whether teachers are ready for advancement to a specific career stage. This is similar to the way in which descriptors of competencies are connected to career stages in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (Box 3.2).

  • Interview protocols and portfolio review tools. An interview protocol would establish the framework for the interview (e.g. the number of questions to be asked), present the appraiser with a series of questions from which they could draw, and provide rubrics to help appraisers equate answers with competency levels. Portfolio review tools could include reference material for appraisers, such as examples of portfolio documents that demonstrate different levels of performance, as well as examples of what appraisers should look for when reviewing each different portfolio document. The Teaching Council in New Zealand provides guidelines and instruments to help teachers compile their portfolios and to help appraisers review these documents (Education Council, n.d.[38]).

Make clear any additional requirements for teacher roles

In order to take on specific roles and responsibilities, teachers in Albania may be required to complete steps in addition to successfully completing the appraisal for promotion process. For example, mentors of novice teachers would be required to participate in specific training (see Policy issue 3.2). The ministry should ensure that any additional requirements for specific teacher roles are consistent, transparent and clearly communicated to the sector (e.g. on-line and in relevant guidelines).

Recommendation 3.1.3. Plan carefully for the implementation of the revised career structure

Revising a teacher career structure is a major change that requires extensive preparation. If introduced too quickly without building the framework to support implementation, it could be rejected by teachers. One essential component to support implementation of the new career structure should be a revised teacher salary scale. Teachers will need to be compensated for taking on additional roles and responsibilities connected to new career stages.

Establish a salary scale that supports the revised career structure

The ministry should work with teachers’ unions and other relevant stakeholders to review and revise the salary scale to support the revised career structure. Changes should include the creation of new salary levels connected to different career stages. These should ensure that teachers receive higher compensation for taking on additional roles and responsibilities associated with those stages.

This will result in greater salary progression to better reward teachers for their experience and efforts than the salary scale that exists now, which is flat relative to OECD countries (OECD, 2018[15]).

Create a plan to place teachers in the revised career structure

The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency will need to establish a clear plan for implementing the revised career structure, including placing teachers on new career levels. All new teachers could automatically be incorporated into the new system. However, Albania will need to carefully consider how to place existing teachers in the revised career structure, most of whom are already qualified, specialist or master teachers in the present structure. In the future, these teachers will be required to possess higher levels of competency and take on additional roles and responsibilities. Albania could consider two different scenarios. Either might be phased in over time to avoid overloading teachers and appraisers.

  • Optional for all existing teachers. Under this scenario, existing teachers could opt for re-classification to a career level in the revised career structure. They would need to be willing to take on new roles and responsibilities, but they would also be eligible for a higher salary. To be re-classified, they would need to meet the requirements for a particular career level (e.g. years of experience) and successfully pass the new appraisal for promotion process. Otherwise, they would remain within the salary bracket of their qualification category under the old career structure.

  • Mandatory for all existing teachers. Under this scenario, teachers’ classification under the old career structure would expire. All existing teachers would be required to undertake the new appraisal for promotion process to be placed on the revised career structure.

Under either scenario, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency will need to ensure that the education system is well-prepared for the changes. Revisions to the salary scale, the establishment of a national committee and the contracting and training of external evaluators (see Recommendation 3.1.2) will all need to be completed prior to implementation. The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should also develop a communications plan involving partners such as initial teacher education providers and forums such as the professional learning networks to ensure that new and in-service teachers clearly understand the changes to the career structure. Finally, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency will need to closely monitor implementation to address any issues that arise.

Consider introducing a higher career level to incentivise the most experienced teachers

Unlike countries with typical differentiated career structures, in Albania, more teachers are in the most advanced qualification category (36%), earning the highest salary, than are in any other category (MoESY Statistics Centre, 2019[20]). Many might be re-classified to the highest level of the revised career structure under one of the scenarios described above (optional or mandatory transition to the new career structure). This will make the new merit-based career structure top heavy. It will also mean that a significant proportion of teachers - a third if all master teachers are placed in the new highest level - will have very limited incentives to continue to develop their effectiveness. To address this, Albania should consider introducing a higher level to the new career structure, above what is presently the master qualification category.

This level would be accessible only to those teachers who demonstrate the highest levels of competency. It would require teachers to take on the most complex roles and responsibilities and make them eligible for a higher salary (see Table 3.4).

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 3.2. Improving the initial preparation and selection of teachers

Albania has made efforts to improve the initial selection of teachers. Notably, the country has raised the bar for entry into some initial teacher education programmes to improve the calibre of entrants. However, Albania should also address other factors that may dissuade the best candidates from entering the teaching profession. These include the lack of teaching positions for new graduates and onerous procedures for certification. Albania is also working to improve the quality of initial teacher preparation. In so doing, it should ensure that the accreditation process requires programmes to help candidates develop the competencies they will need at the start of their careers. Albania should also focus on strengthening the practice teaching component of initial teacher education programmes. This will provide candidates with much-needed practical preparation and will reduce the need for an internship. One gap that Albania has not yet sought to address is the lack of induction supports, such as formal mentorship, to teachers in their first teaching positions. New teachers in Albania’s rural and remote schools require particular supports to address teaching challenges.

Recommendation 3.2.1. Ensure that initial teacher education programmes develop the competencies novice teachers need at the start of their careers

In Albania, initial teacher education programmes vary in quality. The revised teaching standards should help to improve quality by informing programme design and accreditation criteria. This would be consistent with practices in other European countries where teacher competency frameworks commonly define what teacher candidates should know and be able to do by the end of their initial teacher education (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]).

Use the teaching standards for novice teachers to inform the contents and accreditation of initial teacher education programmes

To improve the quality of initial teacher education programmes, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should work with university representatives to:

  • Develop specific accreditation criteria based on the novice teacher competencies defined in the teaching standards. The ministry, the Quality Assurance Agency and their partners should work with the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education to introduce specific accreditation criteria that focus on the outcomes of initial teacher education programmes. For example, programmes should prepare teacher candidates to deliver the new pre-tertiary curriculum by covering cross-curricular competencies, student-centred teaching methods and formative assessment. For accreditation, providers should be required to demonstrate how their programmes will help teacher candidates develop the competencies they will need as novice teachers.

  • Set out accreditation criteria in provider guidelines. Like Ireland, Albania should develop accreditation guidelines for initial teacher education programme providers. These will clearly describe requirements for accreditation to help providers design their programmes, as well as prepare for the accreditation process (see Box 3.4).

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Box 3.4. Criteria and guidelines for initial teacher education programme providers in Ireland

In 2010, the Teaching Council in Ireland, which accredits initial teacher education programmes, established an Advisory Group on Initial Teacher Education as part of the country’s efforts to revise initial teacher preparation. The Advisory Group consisted of representatives of the Teaching Council, Ireland’s Department of Education and Skills, initial teacher education providers and schools. Its main responsibility was to advise the Council on new criteria and guidelines for the accreditation of initial teacher education programmes.

The criteria and guidelines for accreditation cover every level of initial teacher education programmes and every required component. They are organised into inputs, processes and outcomes. The processes are intentionally less prescriptive so that providers can exercise autonomy in developing the specific components of their individual programmes. The outcomes are based on the newly qualified teacher competencies that initial teacher education programme providers are required to demonstrate their students will acquire. The criteria and guidelines are reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

The criteria and guidelines include a range of requirements related to the practicum, which they recognise as a crucial and central part of initial teacher preparation. For example, providers and schools are expected to conduct the practicum according to a written policy they develop which ensures school placements include elements like:

  • A minimum of two placement settings incorporating a variety of teaching situations, class levels and school contexts. In all of these contexts, the school placement should afford student teachers the opportunity to plan and implement lessons and receive constructive feedback.

  • Opportunities for the student teacher to undertake a variety of non-teaching activities, to engage with parents and co-professionals and to observe a wide range of teaching approaches.

Sources: The Teaching Council (2017[39]), Initial Teacher Education: Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providershttp://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Publications/Teacher-Education/Initial-Teacher-Education-Criteria-and-Guidelines-for-Programme-Providers.pdf (accessed on 18 November 2019).

Ensure teacher candidates have sufficient practice teaching opportunities

One of the most important elements of initial teacher education is a well-designed practicum. In Albania, this element has historically been under-developed (Duda and Xhaferri, 2013[25]). Weaknesses have included variations in the length and time of the practicum component across programmes and a lack of training for the mentors who supervise teacher candidates. Although initial teacher education working groups are developing advice regarding the length of the practicum (European Commission, 2018[40]), it is unclear whether they are working on other recommendations to ensure that it is of consistently high quality. The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should task the working groups with developing standards for a high-quality practicum to be included in accreditation criteria. As in Ireland (see Box 3.4), these should provide general parameters for the practicum design within which universities will have autonomy to develop their own specific practices. They should cover elements like:

  • practicum structure, including the minimum number and length of placements, and the types of opportunities they should offer teacher candidates;

  • the partnership between initial teacher education providers and schools, including expectations for what schools should do to provide teacher candidates with meaningful learning environments;

  • mentorship, to ensure that mentors have sufficient preparation and guidance for their role and are well-matched with teacher candidates (the Quality Assurance Agency might work with universities to develop training for mentors, in accordance with their role in developing training for mentors in a new induction programme, as recommended below); and

  • assessment, including who should evaluate teacher candidates and how they should be assessed during the practicum.

Recommendation 3.2.2. Convert the internship into an induction programme for newly employed teachers

The structure of Albania’s internship raises a number of concerns. Interns are not remunerated, which may deter talented people from entering the teaching profession. Most significantly, the internship does not lead to employment in the school in which the intern is placed. This means that newly employed teachers become responsible for their own classroom for the first time in a school environment for which they have not been prepared and without the benefit of a mentor. Albania should replace the internship with an induction programme for teachers who are employed under the first probationary contract of their careers. At the same time, Albania should work to ensure that all teacher candidates are offered high-quality practice teaching experiences during their initial preparation, as outlined above. Within the context of a new induction programme, Albania will need to improve mentorship as a key support for novice teachers and replace the appraisal of interns with a new appraisal process for completion of probation and full teacher certification.

Create an induction period to support novice teachers in their learning

The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency are best placed to develop the key elements of a new induction programme for first-time teachers in their probation year. Key elements should include mentorship and other professional learning activities to develop novice teachers’ skills and self-efficacy in their new teaching environment. In European countries, these commonly include structured, school-based collegial support (e.g. scheduled dialogues with the principal and colleagues, assistance with lesson planning and assessment) and professional development activities such as courses and seminars (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]).

The ministry should be responsible for setting out any legislated elements of the overall framework of the induction programme and funding its implementation. Central funding will help to ensure that the quality of induction is consistent regardless of location. Internationally, induction funding is commonly used to cover costs such as training, including pre-service training for mentors, and release time to allow mentors and teachers to work together (European Commission, 2010[41]). Local education offices in Albania could plan and monitor implementation of the induction programme, while principals could manage implementation of induction in their schools. Box 3.5 provides a description of how these responsibilities are divided in the implementation of the New Teacher Induction Program in Ontario (Canada), as well as the key elements of the programme.

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Box 3.5. New teacher induction in Ontario, Canada

Ontario (Canada) introduced a New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) in 2006. The programme is funded annually and the Ontario Ministry of Education provides district school boards with enveloped funding to implement the programme, including a base amount and a proportional amount which is a “per teacher” allocation. School boards and schools conduct the programme according to the Ministry of Education’s detailed technical requirements manual. Each board has a superintendent, who is responsible for overseeing the programme, and an NTIP coordinator.

Boards are required to submit an NTIP implementation plan to the Ministry of Education prior to the beginning of each school year, and a final report, which contains a detailed summary of all NTIP expenditures, after the end of the school year.

NTIP has three key elements: orientation to the school or board, mentoring and professional learning relevant to the individual needs of new teachers.

  • Mentoring is non-evaluative. School boards train mentors according to the Ministry of Education’s curriculum framework (e.g. consultation, collaboration and coaching; developing a mentoring plan; listening and building rapport). Mentors provide support to new teachers through classroom observations, common planning time and professional dialogue, and participate in professional learning opportunities with them.

  • Professional learning topics address areas of need identified by Ontario’s new teachers (e.g. classroom management) and provincial education priorities (e.g. literacy and numeracy strategies). The Ministry of Education provides a resource guideline of core content that should be covered in school board training on each topic, as well as tools (i.e. questions and statements) to help mentors and principals talk to new teachers about their professional learning needs.

  • The appraisal of new teachers as part of NTIP is conducted by the principal twice in the first 12 months of employment. It includes classroom observations, pre- and post-observation discussions, and a summative report. New teachers complete an Individual NTIP Strategy, in which they identify their professional learning goals and strategies to meet them, and discuss it with their mentor and principal throughout the year.

Sources: Ontario Ministry of Education (2019[42]), New Teacher Induction Program: Induction Elements Manual, http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teacher/pdfs/NTIPInductionElements2019.pdf (accessed on 14 November 2019); Ontario Ministry of Education (2010[43]), Teacher Performance Appraisal Technical Requirements Manualhttp://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teacher/pdfs/TPA_Manual_English_september2010l.pdf (accessed on 14 November 2019).

Prepare mentors and support them in their role

Mentorship, the main support provided to interns in Albania, is hampered by a lack of mentors, a lack of mandatory mentorship training, and mentors’ increased workload (MoESY, 2014[13]) (Duda and Xhaferri, 2013[25]). Albania will need to address these issues in order to ensure that mentorship functions as a key support in the induction programme. If well designed, it can increase novice teachers’ competence and job satisfaction, and positively impact student achievement (OECD, 2014[5]). Albania should consider introducing the following elements, which research identifies as key to effective mentorship:

  • Mandatory training for all mentors. The Quality Assurance Agency should develop mandatory training that leads to mentor certification and is provided by local education offices free of charge to those selected to be mentors in the induction programme. It should have a practical focus and allow for collegial learning, for example, through seminars (Hobson et al., 2009[44]). It should cover novice teacher competencies (see Recommendation 3.1.1), and how to conduct classroom observations, provide meaningful feedback, and facilitate conversations to support novice teachers’ professional learning.

  • Time release and workload reduction. Mentors and novice teachers need release time and a reduced workload to work together (Hobson et al., 2009[44]). In Scotland (United Kingdom), for example, novice teachers have 70% of a full teaching load, and mentors are allocated three and a half hours per week to fulfil their role (European Commission, 2010[41]). The ministry will need to provide induction funding to schools for release time and clear direction to local education offices and principals about how to reduce teaching loads, in addition to making it a regulated requirement.

  • Guidance and ongoing professional learning opportunities. Some guidance is currently provided to mentors, but they lack advice on important areas such as how to help mentees develop teaching practices (Gjedia and Gardinier, 2018[45]). The Quality Assurance Agency should develop mentorship guidelines that set out expectations for the role, as well as practical resources to help mentors work with novice teachers. These could be based on surveys of mentors’ needs and feedback from novice teachers. The mentor networks local education offices are currently required to organise as part of the internship programme should provide a key professional learning forum for induction mentors.

  • A careful matching process. In the future, teachers in Albania will demonstrate that they have the competencies to become mentors by reaching the relevant stage in a new career structure (see Recommendation 3.1.1). Schools should take responsibility for matching specific mentors and novice teachers. The matching process should take into account the novice teacher’s teaching profile and strengths and limitations (Hobson et al., 2009[44]). This could involve gathering input from the novice teacher on the selection of their mentor, which is a practice in Ontario (Canada) (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010[46]).

Recommendation 3.2.3. Modify the internship appraisal into a probation appraisal and an appraisal for registration that are based on evidence of teaching and learning practices

The current appraisal of interns includes a number of features of appraisal for completion of probation processes that are common internationally or recommended in the research literature (e.g. the collection of multiple sources of evidence of teaching practice, the use of internal and external appraisers) (OECD, 2013[1]). However, no appraisers are trained for their role and other aspects of the appraisal are problematic. For example, interns are appraised by the mentors who are supposed to support them. Albania should address these issues by introducing two new appraisal processes that are appropriate for teachers in their induction year. One should be a school-based appraisal for completion of probation while another should be external and lead to teacher registration against national standards.

Make the principal responsible for an induction/probation appraisal

Albania should separate the functions of support and appraisal during the induction/probation year. Research suggests that mentors should not serve as appraisers because it may decrease the likelihood that novice teachers will seek out their help to address their development needs (OECD, 2010[35]). Albania should make the principal, rather than the novice teacher’s mentor, responsible for appraisal. Internationally, it is common for school leaders or teachers’ direct supervisors to be the in-school appraisers for completion of probation (OECD, 2013[1]). While some of the mentors’ and principals’ responsibilities would overlap (e.g. classroom observations) in Albania, the mentor would work much more closely with the novice teacher and would provide support within a non-judgemental learning environment.

Base the induction/probation appraisal on evidence of teaching and learning practices

During the induction/probation year, a teacher’s performance should be appraised against the novice teacher competencies in the revised teaching standards. To ensure that the appraisal meaningfully assesses evidence of teaching and learning practices, it should be similar to the regular appraisal of teachers (i.e. classroom observations, a portfolio review, the creation and discussion of an individual development plan) (see Policy issue 3.3), with a few notable differences:

  • Novice teachers should complete an individual development plan that is tailored for their use during the induction programme. In it, they could identify their professional learning goals to develop competencies related to the teaching standards and describe how they will work towards meeting them by participating in the elements of the induction programme.

  • Novice teachers will need to be closely monitored so that any problems are addressed quickly. The ministry can, for example, consider requiring principals to conduct a preliminary appraisal of novice teachers during the induction/probation period and then a final appraisal at the end, as in Ontario (Canada) (see Box 3.5).

Replace the external component of the internship appraisal with an appraisal for registration

In Albania, interns are also assessed by a local Internship Appraisal Committee that is external to the school. While the involvement of external appraisers can help make appraisals objective, appraisers should be trained for their role, which is not the case in Albania. Committee members gather multiple sources of evidence of interns’ practice, which is positive. However, their practice is not appraised against consistent teaching standards. Albania should introduce a new appraisal process that addresses these gaps. This process should lead to the full certification of novice teachers at the completion of their induction/probation year. It should be managed by the national committee described in Recommendation 3.1.1. As another high-stakes appraisal, it should involve some of the same key elements as the appraisal for promotion process recommended above:

  • Well-trained contracted external evaluators. Instead of the local Internship Appraisal Committees, the contracted external evaluators recommended for the revised appraisal for promotion process could conduct this appraisal process. This would ensure that appraisers are objective, well-trained and have teaching expertise. It would also allow staff in the new regional directorates and local education offices to dedicate their time to supporting teachers rather than assessing their performance.

  • Assessment of novice teachers’ performance against teaching standards. Appraisal for full teacher certification should assess beginning teachers’ performance against the novice teacher competencies in the revised teaching standards. This should be based on broad evidence of teachers’ practice. In addition to conducting an interview and a portfolio review and gathering input from the novice teacher’s in-school appraiser, external evaluators could conduct a classroom observation to obtain direct evidence of the teacher’s practice. These sources of evidence are used in other countries for appraisal for registration (OECD, 2013[1]).

Recommendation 3.2.4. Revise requirements for initial certification and placement to assess the competencies of new graduates

Replacing the internship with an induction programme for newly employed teachers, as recommended above, would have an impact on Albania’s requirements for certification and placement in a school (see Figure 3.5). Notably, completion of an internship would no longer be a certification requirement. The state exam for teacher certification, rather than being completed after the internship, would instead provide verification that graduates of initial teacher education programmes have attained a minimum level of competencies before entering the classroom. In addition, Albania should consider making other revisions to certification requirements and placement criteria to enhance quality assurance and create greater efficiency. For example, Albania should review and improve the content and methodology of the state exam to ensure that it serves as an effective and reliable measure of the skills and knowledge teachers need at the beginning of their careers.

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Figure 3.5. Recommended career path of novice teachers
Figure 3.5. Recommended career path of novice teachers

Revise the state exam for teacher certification

The ministry should work with the Educational Services Centre, members of the commission responsible for the state exam and the Quality Assurance Agency to review and revise the state exam to reliably assess the competencies expected of novice teachers. Specifically, Albania should:

  • Include questions on the pre-tertiary curriculum and teaching competencies. While exam questions should still cover knowledge of subject area, they should also cover knowledge of the new pre-tertiary curriculum and related pedagogical practices, and novice teacher competencies in the revised teaching standards.

  • Consider including practice-oriented, open-ended questions. Short essay questions could supplement multiple-choice questions to obtain a more detailed picture of teachers’ subject matter and pedagogical knowledge.

  • Pilot the revised exam instruments. A thorough pilot will help to refine the questions, as well as determine the cut-off mark for the exam, which should also be informed by the judgement of experts with an understanding of novice teachers’ competencies (UNESCO, 2017[17]).

  • Conduct a comparable review of the Teachers for Albania test. While this test asks questions about the pre-tertiary curriculum, it should also be revised to align with the revised teaching standards.

Review the criteria used to certify and place new teachers

At present, requirements for teacher certification in Albania are obtaining a master’s degree in the field of education, completing a year of professional practice and passing the state exam. Albania should revise these not only to remove the year of professional practice as a requirement but also to support improvements to initial teacher preparation and selection. The ministry should consider specifying that the master’s degree must be from an accredited initial teacher education programme (see Recommendation 3.2.1). This will support Albania’s push for greater quality assurance at the tertiary education level by encouraging public universities to seek accreditation. Another certification requirement could include successful completion of a practicum that meets quality standards (see Recommendation 3.2.1). This will ensure that all new graduates of initial teacher education programmes have obtained practical teaching experience before entering the classroom.

In addition, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should review and revise criteria that are used to inform initial placement decisions to ensure that they are objective and allow decision-makers to meaningfully assess the competencies of newly certified recent graduates. For example, candidates’ performance during their practicum placement, as evidenced by assessments or references, could be taken into account. Research indicates that this is a better predictor of actual performance in the classroom than the results of a multiple-choice test (OECD, 2010[35]). To create greater efficiency, Albania might consider re-visiting the requirement that candidates pass both the state exam and the Teachers for Albania employment test in order to be eligible for their first teaching job. While the tests are used for different purposes and the Teachers for Albania test contains questions on a broader range of topics, they cover some of the same content areas (i.e. subject knowledge, pedagogy), and graduates often complete them in succession. A number of countries use an exam for both teacher certification and placement in schools, including France, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]).

Recommendation 3.2.5. Manage admission to initial teacher education programmes to attract talented candidates and anticipate demand from the school system

Entry requirements and quotas for initial teacher education programmes can help countries select the best candidates for the teaching profession and ensure that an appropriate number are trained. Albania has taken steps to improve the calibre of teacher candidates by raising the bar for entry to bachelor’s degree programmes that prepare future primary teachers. However, the country has not introduced a minimum requirement for entry to the master’s degree programmes that prepare future secondary teachers. In addition, the government has not adjusted admission quotas to initial teacher education programmes based on the demand for teachers. This means that, while there are shortages for some subjects, such as mathematics and science, there is an oversupply of teachers in others. To address these gaps, Albania should consider tightening entry requirements and adjusting the spaces allotted to initial teacher education programmes.

Consider revising the entry requirements for consecutive initial teacher education programmes

Each provider of graduate initial teacher education programmes in Albania sets their own admission standards, which usually take into account students’ grades and the demand for the programme. The bar for entry could vary significantly across programmes. There are indications that it is relatively low compared to other professions. The grade point averages of applicants to initial teacher education programmes leading to a master’s degree have tended to be lower than those for other graduate programmes (MoESY, 2014[13]).

The ministry should work with initial teacher education programme providers to set minimum requirements for entry into the master’s degree programmes. In addition to grade point averages, providers could assess other factors important to teaching. For example, providers in countries with strong education systems tend to assess applicants’ interpersonal and communication skills, willingness to learn and motivation to teach (Barber and Mourshed, 2007[4]). These can be assessed through interviews or exams specifically intended for admission to initial teacher education programmes, which are used in roughly a third of European countries (Eurydice, 2013[47]). Given the declining student population in Albania, programmes that prepare teachers for all levels – primary and secondary – could use these measures to be more selective, while keeping in mind the need to monitor subject-specific demand.

Conduct forward planning exercises to inform entry requirements and quotas

In Albania, any new bar for entry into initial teacher education programmes should be informed by an analysis of the needs of the education system. This analysis will also reveal what adjustments to admission quotas are necessary. Quotas have not been adjusted for some time despite an oversupply of teachers for certain subjects. Specifically, the ministry should work with initial teacher education programme providers to:

  • Conduct systematic forward planning based on reliable data. Albania reportedly already collects a range of data on teacher vacancies and conducts some form of forward planning to forecast future demand (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]). The ministry should review and refine its forecasting model and labour market data in order to conduct systematic projections of teacher supply and demand that can be used to inform adjustments to initial teacher education programme entry requirements and quotas. For example, the ministry should further develop Socrates, the education management information system, to collect country-wide data more efficiently and better ensure its reliability (see Chapter 5). Albania could look to many European countries for examples of forecasting models that inform adjustments to the supply of teachers. Scotland (United Kingdom) adjusts admission quotas to initial teacher education programmes on an annual basis while projecting teacher supply and demand over five years (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2018[16]).

  • Publish information about the teacher employment landscape and forecasts to allow students to make informed decisions about whether to enter initial teacher education programmes. This information will be particularly useful for students who are considering obtaining qualifications to teach subjects for which few vacant teaching positions are available.

Recommendation 3.2.6. Incentivise teachers to work in hard-to-staff areas and provide them with more supports to be effective

Albania is experiencing a shortage of teachers in certain rural and remote regions. New teachers are more likely to find employment opportunities in these hard-to-staff areas than in urban schools that are not experiencing shortages. Albania should provide supports to help these new teachers and their experienced colleagues be effective in addressing the challenges rural and remote schools face. At the same time, Albania should consider introducing incentives to attract talented new and experienced teachers to these schools.

Provide sufficient preparation and support to teachers in rural and socio-economically disadvantaged areas

In Albania, teachers receive very little to no initial preparation in areas like managing multi-grade classes, which are common in rural schools. Teachers in these schools are also more likely to experience challenges like a shortage of education material (OECD, 2016[48]). The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should provide better preparation and support to teachers to be effective in rural or socio-economically disadvantaged areas, including:

  • Providing practical initial teacher preparation for rural and remote contexts. Initial teacher education curriculum and practice teaching opportunities should prepare teacher candidates for the contexts in which they are likely to teach. For example, curriculum content should cover working with students from a range of social and economic backgrounds. Research indicates that teacher candidates who have practice teaching experiences in disadvantaged schools are able to perform better as teachers (OECD, 2012[49]).

  • Strengthening mentorship during the induction programme. Mentoring can improve retention and more quickly develop the effectiveness of novice teachers in hard-to-staff schools (OECD, 2012[49]). Mentors can help novice teachers understand and develop strategies to address the challenges their school and students face. In better preparing and supporting mentors (see Recommendation 3.2.2), Albania should provide specific guidance to mentors in hard-to-staff schools.

  • Providing relevant training modules. Albania should ensure that continuous professional development opportunities are available to teachers that address some of the specific issues of teaching in rural and remote areas, such as multi-grade classes.

  • Expanding networking to overcome isolation. Albania has reportedly created networks to connect rural teachers with their counterparts in urban schools as a supportive measure. This is an important initiative that the Quality Assurance Agency should expand to counter isolation among teachers in rural areas.

Incentivise talented and motivated teachers to work in harder-to-staff areas

Countries commonly use financial and career incentives to attract teachers to remote and rural schools (OECD, 2005[50]). In Albania, the ministry should consider:

  • Introducing previously proposed incentives to attract teachers. In 2015-16, Albania developed a plan to provide incentives (e.g. allowances for rent and transportation, free continuous professional development courses, and priority in transferring to their next teaching position) to attract teachers to hard-to-staff schools (UNESCO, 2017[17]). The ministry should proceed with piloting these incentives and evaluating their impact.

  • Creating initial teacher education scholarships. The ministry could provide scholarships to students from harder-to-staff areas of the country who commit to teaching in their home area for a certain period of time. For example, China’s Free Teacher Education Policy offers high-performing students from lower income, rural regions of the country free university tuition and ten years of job security if they agree to work as teachers in their home area for at least two years (UNESCO, 2014[51]).

  • Introducing a career fast-track for teachers in rural or remote areas. Many OECD countries use career fast-tracks to incentivise talented teachers to work in hard-to-staff areas. Queensland (Australia) provides teachers with financial and professional development benefits when working in remote and rural areas, including being able to fast-track their leadership careers (Department of Education, 2019[52]). Similarly, Albania could make teachers who choose to teach for a minimum number of years in rural or remote areas eligible for a career fast-track. For example, these teachers could be given additional bonus points in the appraisal for promotion process.

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 3.3. Ensuring that regular appraisal informs teachers’ professional development

In Albania, principals or deputy principals appraise teachers’ performance on an annual basis. They also regularly conduct classroom observations and review teachers’ lesson plans. However, these activities are undertaken primarily to fulfil administrative responsibilities rather than to help teachers further develop their teaching competencies (Duda, Golubeva and Clifford-Amos, 2013[30]). For example, classroom observations and lesson plan reviews do not consistently result in feedback to teachers on how they can improve their practices. Albania should re-orient these activities so that they support teachers’ development and incorporate them into a regular appraisal process that is explicitly formative. This formative appraisal process should help teachers better identify their training needs, encourage teachers to set goals for their development and participate in professional learning activities to meet those goals. In addition to modifying the elements of the appraisal process, Albania should develop resources and training to help appraisers and teachers conduct it effectively.

Recommendation 3.3.1. Make the regular appraisal process developmental

The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should change the evidence that is used for the regular appraisal of teachers to ensure that it allows principals to meaningfully assess authentic teaching and learning practices. At present, teachers’ annual plans and portfolios do not provide this information. Authentic sources of evidence would, instead, include classroom observations and a portfolio that contains documentation of teachers’ practices. To encourage teachers’ professional growth, the regular appraisal should also involve the creation of an individual development plan. Most importantly, Albania should provide guidance and tools to schools to ensure that the appraisal leads to constructive feedback and teachers’ participation in professional learning activities. This will support teachers’ development, including their development of student-centred teaching practices.

Use the revised teaching standards to appraise teachers’ performance

Use of the revised teaching standards will be instrumental to making the regular appraisal process more formative. Albania should ensure that teachers use the standards to help inform their goals for development. Appraisers should use them to make consistent judgements about teachers’ performance when reviewing evidence of their work. In so doing, appraisers should assess teachers against the competency levels connected to their particular career stage. The standards should also help appraisers identify areas where growth is needed, leading to constructive feedback and advice about professional development opportunities that would address teachers’ needs.

Develop tools to help schools use classroom observations for formative feedback

Principals in Albania are required to conduct classroom observations three hours per week (MoESY, 2014[13]). However, the former State Inspectorate of Education (see Chapter 1) has found that observations are not consistently conducted to check on improvements to teaching practices (AQAPUE, 2017[53]). Classroom observations should be viewed as an integral part of a regular formative appraisal process. Their main purpose should be to provide feedback to teachers on their strengths and weaknesses, particularly in relation to their use of student-centred teaching practices (e.g. evidence of formative assessment). The Quality Assurance Agency should develop standard classroom observation tools to support this, such as:

  • An indicators and descriptors tool that helps appraisers and teachers understand what to look for when making judgements about whether a teacher is demonstrating competencies related to the teaching standards. This could be similar to the indicators and descriptors developed by the International Comparative Analysis of Learning and Teaching (ICALT). For example, in the ICALT, one indicator is “the teacher promotes the mutual respect and interest of students” and one of the descriptors of how this is effectively demonstrated is “the teacher encourages children to listen to each other” (OECD, 2013[1]). This review recommends that the Quality Assurance Agency also use the ICALT to develop a tool to support inspectors’ classroom observations (see Chapter 4).

  • A standard template that identifies each competency/indicator and provides space for principals to indicate the extent to which the teacher has demonstrated it, using a common scale, and to provide written comments and feedback.

Replace the annual plan with an individual development plan

The annual plan that is used to appraise teachers in Albania does not encourage teacher development. It is used to record student test scores and a range of administrative information, such as teacher training credits and absences. To focus regular appraisal on teachers’ development, Albania should replace the annual plan with an individual development plan. Specifically, Albania should:

  • Use an individual development plan for self-appraisal and goal setting. In the plan, teachers should identify specific goals for improvement, professional development and student learning and describe how they would work towards them. In developing these goals, teachers would be expected to reflect on their most recent appraisal results, the revised teaching standards and objectives in the school development plan.

  • Provide a template and guidance on developing goals. The Quality Assurance Agency should provide schools with a simple individual development plan template and guidance on how to set goals. For example, the agency could also advise teachers to work with their principals (and subject teams) to identify specific student learning goals and how they will assess students’ progress towards them. These goals might relate to the development of cross-curricular competencies and the use of methods like student portfolios to assess them. Teachers could provide evidence of students’ progress in their own teaching portfolios (see below). This would provide a more meaningful measure of teachers’ contributions to students’ learning than their raw marks alone. To support student-centred teaching, the Quality Assurance Agency could encourage teachers to specify learning goals for struggling students and goals related to the use of formative assessment (see Chapter 2).

  • Make the plan the focus of dialogue with the principal. Teachers would be expected to obtain their principals’ approval on their goals at the outset. The plan would serve as the focus of professional dialogue between the teacher and the principal at the beginning and end of the appraisal cycle. These discussions, a recommended practice in the research literature, are already built into the regular appraisal process in Albania (OECD, 2013[1]). However, the Quality Assurance Agency should also provide advice to schools about how to structure them.

Revise the teacher portfolio to provide evidence of teaching practices in relation to the revised teaching standards

A teacher portfolio review should be another key element of a formative regular appraisal process in Albania. At the moment, the portfolio teachers are required to maintain contains only administrative material. The portfolio should, instead, contain evidence of teachers’ practice that demonstrates their work towards or achievement of competencies in the revised teaching standards. This would encourage teachers’ self-reflection and help to focus teachers’ and principals’ conversations on professional development needs. This type of portfolio would also support teachers’ career advancement. Specifically, it would help appraisers and teachers determine whether they are working at the competency level for their career stage. Teachers could also draw documents from this portfolio for the appraisal for promotion process.

Albania should ensure that the review of the portfolio and other teaching material results in feedback to teachers. Principals in Albania are currently required to review teachers’ documentation (e.g. lessons plans) on a regular basis, but this process does not systematically lead to feedback, even when problems are identified (AQAPUE, 2017[53]). Without this step, the review of documentation is simply an administrative check that adds to the workload of principals. The Quality Assurance Agency should advise principals and teachers to devote sufficient time to discussion of the portfolio and other teaching material and provide guidance on how to provide constructive feedback (see below).

Ensure that regular appraisal is connected to participation in continuous professional development

During school visits, the review team heard that teachers never discuss their professional development needs with their principal as part of the regular appraisal process. This is problematic because appraisal must have a strong connection to professional development in order to have a positive impact on teaching and learning (OECD, 2013[1]). To support teachers’ professional growth, Albania should train principals on how to help teachers identify and address their learning needs in their individual development plans (see Recommendation 3.3.2). Albania should also consider:

  • Helping teachers and principals easily identify relevant professional development. As recommended in Policy issue 3.1, the Quality Assurance Agency should categorise continuous professional development according to the revised teaching standards to which they relate. The Quality Assurance Agency should also provide schools with templates for teacher-principal appraisal meetings that prompt discussions on professional development. Over time, the agency might also consider investing in tools that automatically suggest possible professional learning opportunities based on the results of a teacher’s appraisal. One example of this is the iObservation tool, developed by Learning Sciences International, a firm based in the United States, which directly links appraisal scores with professional development resources such as books or curriculum materials (Goe, Biggers and Croft, 2012[8]).

  • Requiring teachers to address significant competency gaps. The ministry should give principals the authority to require teachers who are clearly underperforming in important competency areas to participate in mandatory training. This is important to ensure that all teachers in Albania are meeting minimum requirements. In Chile, for example, teachers who obtain a “basic” or “poor” rating on their appraisal are required to create and follow a professional development plan to improve their competencies (Santiago et al., 2013[2]). This type of training should be free of charge so that teachers in all schools, whether in socio-economically advantaged or disadvantaged areas, can access it.

  • Providing principals with guidance on how to avoid conflicts of interest when advising teachers. In Albania, an administrative instruction prohibits principals from influencing school staff in selecting a training agency. This seems intended to eliminate conflicts of interest by preventing principals from recommending modules offered by providers with whom they have some connection (e.g. as a trainer). However, principals may interpret this as a barrier to providing any guidance on professional development to teachers in their school. To ensure that principals can support teachers’ professional learning, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency could modify the wording in the administrative instruction to clarify what specifically constitutes a conflict of interest. Any new training for principals should include advice on how to avoid such conflicts of interest.

Recommendation 3.3.2. Provide more guidance to teachers and school principals on how to undertake a formative appraisal

The use of the teaching standards and appraisal templates in the regular appraisal process varies across Albania. The Quality Assurance Agency is currently developing guidelines to improve consistency in the implementation of the regular appraisal process and to encourage use of the teaching standards. It will also be important for principals to receive training on the key components of the regular appraisal process that encourage teachers’ development.

Issue guidelines and tools that provide essential information and advice to teachers and appraisers

While schools in Albania should have some flexibility to implement regular teacher appraisal in ways that best address their needs, they also need clear direction on how to conduct it effectively. This is especially important given that appraisers and teachers in Albania do not have experience undertaking an appraisal process that is focused on development. The Quality Assurance Agency should:

  • Issue practical guidelines about how to conduct a regular appraisal process that supports professional growth. Guidelines should communicate the formative purpose of regular appraisal and outline each step in the regular appraisal process. They should also provide guidance on how to conduct major elements of the appraisal process, such as classroom observations and structured discussions between the appraiser and the teacher. Finally, they should explain how the regular appraisal of teachers relates to other appraisal processes, such as appraisal for promotion.

  • Provide easily accessible appraisal tools and videos. The Quality Assurance Agency should create appraisal resources and make them available online as part of their website. Resources should help principals make judgements about teachers’ performance and help teachers reflect on their own practices and set goals. For example, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s website provides a range of resources related to performance and development (AITSL, 2017[54]). Videos show how teachers’ practices at different stages of their careers demonstrate the teaching standards. Other tools include performance and development case studies, such as a video of how one school conducts classroom observations and provides feedback to teachers, and PowerPoint presentation workshops on key elements of the appraisal cycle.

Provide training and supports to school principals

Albania has plans to introduce pre-service and in-service training for principals and deputy principals (see Chapter 4). They currently receive no training on how to conduct regular appraisals, although the review team heard that some training has been offered in the past. The Quality Assurance Agency could work with the School of Directors to develop training and support for in-service principals on the regular appraisal process. This type of training is now offered in a number of OECD and European countries, including the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic (OECD, 2015[55]; Santiago et al., 2012[56]). One area that should be addressed is conducting effective classroom observations. Appraisal processes that involve classroom observations are associated with higher student outcomes, but appraisers need appropriate guidance and instruments in order to conduct them effectively (OECD, 2013[57]).

Principals in Albania should also receive preparation and resources on how to provide constructive feedback to teachers. For example, the Quality Assurance Agency could develop an appraisal feedback template to help principals provide written feedback to teachers on their appraisal results. This should prompt principals to identify strengths and areas where further development is needed, as well as suggestions for methods to improve. This qualitative feedback is important for formative purposes and can also be used as input into decisions about a teacher’s promotion (see Policy issue 3.1).

copy the linklink copied!Policy issue 3.4. Strengthening the collaborative professional learning activities that have the greatest impact on teachers’ practices

Collaborative, job-embedded learning is the most effective at improving teachers’ competence (Schleicher, 2011[58]). Albania has created the structures to provide teachers with this type of learning in the form of school subject teams and, beyond the school, the professional learning networks. However, these groups need significant support to provide high-quality learning opportunities to teachers. Albania has not yet invested in developing their capacity. Notably, school subject teams receive no resources or guidance to support their activities.

Teachers’ continuous professional development in Albania is underfunded, in general. This lack of funding was reportedly one reason behind the ministry’s establishment of the professional learning networks and a related reliance on the train-the-trainer model to deliver training. Albania should strengthen both the professional learning networks and school subject teams by providing training, guidance and funding to support teachers’ collaborative learning. Both groups should help teachers shift their teaching practices towards more student-centred approaches. Albania should also ensure that the Quality Assurance Agency has sufficient resources to provide an adequate amount of training to teachers on education priorities and that schools receive funds to train their staff.

Recommendation 3.4.1. Strengthen professional learning at the local and school level

To better support teachers’ collaborative learning, Albania should strengthen the professional learning networks to serve as a primary resource for school subject teams. This will encourage teachers’ job-embedded learning by helping them put what they are learning in their networks into practice in their schools. For example, the topics dealt with in the networks should help to guide and focus the work of the subject teams. Albania should also make changes to the subject teams to ensure that they can engage teachers in meaningful learning activities in the school. Finally, Albania should further invest in e-learning opportunities as an additional forum for teachers’ collaborative professional development.

Strengthen professional learning networks and ensure continuity with in-school learning

The ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should strengthen the professional learning networks to support the work of the school subject teams. In the immediate term, this would involve:

  • Reviewing and revising training for professional network managers. At the moment, training for professional network managers focuses mostly on curriculum content rather than how to effectively co-ordinate a peer-learning network. The Quality Assurance Agency should ensure that this training also prepares them to help teachers understand how they can incorporate new practices into their everyday teaching by connecting theory and practice (Timperley, 2008[59]).

  • Providing sufficient resources. This could include digital material (PowerPoint presentations, factsheets, videos) housed on the Quality Assurance Agency website describing the practices of professional learning communities that are associated with improving student outcomes (e.g. reflective discussions on teaching practices, coaching to challenge assumptions and encourage learning) (OECD, 2005[50]). These resources should also be applicable to and used by school subject teams.

  • Linking the work of the networks and the school subject teams. For example, the Quality Assurance Agency could define topics (e.g. major curriculum changes and related teaching strategies) that could be the subject of meetings of both the professional learning networks and school subject teams, and task the latter with conducting related active learning activities in schools. Active learning activities would include things such as meeting to conduct joint work, trying out and observing teaching strategies in the classroom and providing feedback. Results of this work could be shared with the professional learning networks.

Support subject teams to become effective professional learning communities

Support from government at the central and local levels is crucial to the success of schools’ efforts to build collaborative learning cultures. They have a key role to play in encouraging meaningful professional development, promoting networking, and disseminating good practices (Kools and Stoll, 2016[60]). To support the work of the subject teams, the ministry and the Quality Assurance Agency should consider:

  • Clarifying the professional learning responsibilities of subject teams. The ministry should revise the Normative Provisions to clearly define teachers’ professional learning as a primary purpose of the school subject teams and to include active learning activities such as classroom observations among their responsibilities.

  • Carefully selecting and recognising subject team heads. Currently, there are minimal selection criteria for subject team heads and they have few defined responsibilities. In developing a new teacher career structure, the ministry should more clearly define the responsibilities of subject team heads and the inter-personal and professional competencies needed to take on this role (see Policy issue 3.1). Subject team heads should also be remunerated for their role, either through a reduced workload or a salary allowance.

  • Preparing subject team heads for their role. The Quality Assurance Agency should develop training for subject team heads to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of the pre-tertiary curriculum and can effectively lead professional learning communities. This training could, for example, cover how to conduct effective collaborative dialogue, joint work and classroom observations and coach and provide feedback to other teachers. It could be delivered by the Quality Assurance Agency staff or staff within the local education offices. These individuals might also provide coaching to subject team heads on an ongoing basis. In Lithuania for example, the central Education Development Centre prepared a network of expert teachers, called educational consultants, to develop teachers in fifteen national priority areas (Shewbridge et al., 2016[61]).

  • Helping subject teams use appraisal results to target development needs. School subject teams use an annual questionnaire to identify their members’ development needs for the school development plan. This method has disadvantages as it relies solely on teachers self-reporting their needs. The ministry might consider introducing a process whereby schools also use regular appraisal results to identify teachers’ learning needs for school development planning. For example, in Korea, each school has an appraisal management committee that reviews teachers’ appraisal results at an aggregate level (no individual teachers are identified) and their professional development plans to draft a school-wide report on staff learning needs for submission to the principal (Kim et al., 2010[62]). In Albania, this type of activity could help subject teams target areas of weakness for teachers and inform the school development plan.

  • Helping principals to support the work of the subject teams. Albania’s new School of Directors is working to professionalise the principal role (see Chapter 4). This should include positioning the building of a collaborative work culture as one of the core responsibilities of effective school leadership (Schleicher, 2012[18]). As part of this, the ministry and School of Directors should specify how principals should support the work of school subject teams. For example, the ministry should provide guidance to principals about how they should timetable to ensure that teachers have sufficient opportunities to meet in their subject teams and conduct active learning activities such as classroom observations.

Further develop e-learning opportunities

E-learning platforms allow teachers to access tools and collaborate with each other in ways that are responsive to their needs (Schleicher, 2016[63]). Most OECD countries and many emerging economies have developed them to support teachers’ professional learning. In Albania, the Quality Assurance Agency should further invest in developing these types of e-learning platforms. Notably, the Quality Assurance Agency should build on its existing pre-tertiary curriculum platform to provide digital resources to teachers, including model student assessments and lesson plans (see Chapter 2). In developing this feature of the platform, the Quality Assurance Agency will need to consider what quality assurance checks will be necessary to ensure that the material shared on the platform meets minimum requirements. The Quality Assurance Agency could, for example, look to the peer-review process undertaken in Moscow (Russian Federation), whereby experienced teachers review and provide comments on each other’s uploaded material (Mos.ru, 2016[64]; Medium, 2017[65]).

Recommendation 3.4.2. Devote sufficient resources to teachers’ continuous professional development

The continuous professional development of teachers in Albania is underfunded (European Commission, 2017[28]). The Quality Assurance Agency’s predecessor, the Education Development Institute, lacked the resources to deliver more than one day of training per year on priority areas. Schools are also not provided with any discretionary financial resources for staff training. This limits their capacity to help teachers improve their practices. The ministry will need to increase funding for continuous professional development to ensure that teachers are provided with thorough and sustained training in priority areas and give schools the means to address the professional learning needs of their staff.

Provide the necessary funding for training on priority areas

Given Albania’s education reform efforts and the need to develop teachers’ student-centred practices, the Quality Assurance Agency needs to be able to deliver quality training to teachers. A lack of funding will prevent the agency from effectively developing and delivering the continuous professional development, resources and tools recommended in this chapter. The government will need to provide sufficient resources to the Quality Assurance Agency to fulfil its mandate, as well as to regional directorates and local education offices which have been recently re-organised to provide more support to schools (see Chapter 4). In addition, the Quality Assurance Agency should review the individual cost of participating in professional development for teachers to ensure that it is affordable.

Provide funding to schools for teachers’ continuous professional development

Schools in Albania are required to identify the continuous professional development needs of their staff in their annual school development plans, but they do not receive any funding to address those needs, and they are underfunded in general. In the Strategy on pre-university education development, 2014-2020, the ministry proposed giving schools autonomy to use government funds to meet staff training objectives in their development plans. The ministry should proceed with implementing this proposal. Specifically, as recommended in Chapter 4, the ministry should provide earmarked funding to Albania’s schools which can be used, at their discretion, for continuous professional development that meets teachers’ needs. Other countries that make use of this type of funding include Estonia, where 1% of the state budget for teachers’ salaries is provided to schools for their staff development needs, and Singapore, where each school has a continuous professional development fund (Kools and Stoll, 2016[60]; Santiago, 2016[66]).

copy the linklink copied!Table of recommendations

copy the linklink copied!

Policy issu

Recommendations

Actions

3.1. Encouraging teachers to improve their competencies throughout their career

3.1.1. Create a teacher career structure that encourages teachers to develop higher competency levels

Consider developing a two-track career structure

Establish roles and responsibilities for the stages of the career structure

Revise the professional teaching standards to define competencies associated with different levels in the teacher career structure

Consult with teachers on revisions to the teaching standards

Offer professional learning opportunities that allow teachers to develop competencies for career advancement

3.1.2. Revise the appraisal for promotion process to ensure teachers’ readiness to take on new roles and responsibilities

Draw on multiple sources of evidence to authentically assess teachers’ competencies and motivation

Create a new cadre of external evaluators to undertake appraisal for promotion

Establish a national committee to oversee appraisal for promotion

Provide guidelines and tools to support the work of external appraisers

Make clear any additional requirements for teacher roles

3.1.3. Plan carefully for the implementation of the revised career structure

Establish a salary scale that supports the revised career structure

Create a plan to place teachers in the revised career structure

Consider introducing a higher career level to incentivise the most experienced teachers

3.2. Improving the initial preparation and selection of teachers

3.2.1. Ensure that initial teacher education programmes develop the competencies novice teachers need at the start of their careers

Use the teaching standards for novice teachers to inform the contents and accreditation of initial teacher education programmes

Ensure teacher candidates have sufficient practice teaching opportunities

3.2.2: Convert the internship into an induction programme for newly employed teachers

Create an induction period to support novice teachers in their learning

Prepare mentors and support them in their role

3.2.3. Modify the internship appraisal into a probation appraisal and an appraisal for registration that are based on evidence of teaching and learning practices

Make the principal responsible for an induction/probation appraisal

Base the induction/probation appraisal on evidence of teaching and learning practices

Replace the external component of the internship appraisal with an appraisal for registration

3.2.4. Revise requirements for initial certification and placement to assess the competencies of new graduates

Revise the state exam for teacher certification

Review the criteria used to certify and place new teachers

3.2.5. Manage admission to initial teacher education programmes to attract talented candidates and anticipate demand from the school system

Consider revising the entry requirements for consecutive initial teacher education programmes

Conduct forward planning exercises to inform entry requirements and quotas

3.2.6. Incentivise teachers to work in hard-to-staff areas and provide them with more supports to be effective

Provide sufficient preparation and support to teachers in rural and socio-economically disadvantaged areas

Incentivise talented and motivated teachers to work in harder-to-staff areas

3.3. Ensuring that regular appraisal informs teachers’ professional development

3.3.1. Make the regular appraisal process developmental

Use the revised teaching standards to appraise teachers’ performance

Develop tools to help schools use classroom observations for formative feedback

Replace the annual plan with an individual development plan

Revise the teacher portfolio to provide evidence of teaching practices in relation to the revised teaching standards

Ensure that regular appraisal is connected to participation in continuous professional development

3.3.2. Provide more guidance to teachers and school principals on how to undertake a formative appraisal

Issue guidelines and tools that provide essential information and advice to teachers and appraisers

Provide training and supports to school principals

3.4. Strengthening the collaborative professional learning activities that have the greatest impact on teachers’ practices

3.4.1. Strengthen professional learning at the local and school level

Strengthen professional learning networks and ensure continuity with in-school learning

Support subject teams to become effective professional learning communities

Further develop e-learning opportunities

3.4.2. Devote sufficient resources to teachers’ continuous professional development

Provide the necessary funding for training on priority areas

Provide funding to schools for teachers’ continuous professional development

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https://doi.org/10.1787/d267dc93-en

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