Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education: final report (April 2023)

28 April 2023

The full report is attached below.


Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) was a six-year, Scottish Government-funded
study which involved co-investigators from all 11 University providers of ITE along with the General
Teaching Council for Scotland. The project sought to address two research questions:
1. How can quality in ITE be measured in a Scottish, context-appropriate way?
2. What does this measuring tell us about aspects of quality in different ITE routes in Scotland?

The project began with literature review (Rauschenberger et al., 2017) which informed the
development of a framework to guide the study (Kennedy et al., 2022). At the same time, the MQuITE
team explored the concept of ITE ‘quality’ by: charting the quality mechanisms in existence in Scottish
ITE; considering the challenges of identifying quality at both system and local levels; exploring the
relationship between markers of quality and underpinning purposes of ITE; and considered the
measurement of quality as a tool to prove or to improve, that is, as an accountability mechanism or as
a means to enhance ITE.
Empirical data collection included an annual survey of 2018 and 2019 initial teacher education (ITE)
graduates for five years (2018 – 2022), together with surveys of school and university-based teacher
educators and focus groups with school mentors and leaders and local authority probation managers.
MQuITE is the largest ITE study in Scotland to date, representing the views of 946 early career
teachers across 1414 individual survey responses.
Graduates report no real areas of persistent weakness, and levels of confidence and self-efficacy
remain fairly high and fairly stable over time. There is no sense of a crisis in ITE, and in the CfE areas of
responsibility for all, confidence, while slightly higher in the primary sector, is high across both
sectors. We identified no statistically significant difference in confidence or self-efficacy by sector or
by programme route (undergraduate or PGDE). The range of different professional learning needs
identified by graduates suggests a need for choice rather than a ‘one size fits all’ type approach in the
induction year. Finally, when compared with TALIS data, graduates in Scotland report comparable
levels of self-efficacy, and higher than OECD average positive orientations towards staying in teaching.
There was a clear commitment to partnership working expressed by all stakeholders – during and
beyond the ITE phase. However, for a national system that relies so heavily on mentoring and inschool support for professional learning, there is an obvious lack of systematic support, appropriate
resourcing, clarity of role expectations and systematic support for school-based teacher educators.
This lack of systemic resourcing and support is compounded by a school placement system which sees
schools receiving students from many different courses and providers, thereby making the
development of relationships, and sharing of understanding between schools and HEIs more
The whole exercise of developing a contextually appropriate framework for measuring quality in
Scotland has illuminated the fact that there is not a shared understanding of the purpose of ITE. The
link between how one might measure quality, and how one identifies or describes what constitutes
quality ITE, is of crucial importance. The MQuITE data points to the need for more explicit
conversation in the system about what we see as the purpose and expected outcomes of ITE and
what pedagogical decisions we would take in order to achieve these desired outcomes.
Collaboration between the 11 university providers and GTC Scotland over the life of MQuITE has
enabled a process of ongoing research and development, and individual universities found it
particularly helpful to be able to interrogate their own data, and to compare that to the data as a
whole. Comparison has also been made with international data, revealing that Scottish ITE is in a
comparatively healthy position across the board.
While much of the news is good, conclusions also point to a number of areas requiring consideration
and action, including: greater personalisation and choice in early phase professional learning; a more
coherent early phase experience spanning ITE and induction; strengthened partnership between key
stakeholders; investment in mentoring; and a need to develop and articulate shared understanding of
the purpose of ITE and the pedagogical decisions that inform programmes. Finally, while the systemlevel health check reveals a positive picture, in order to enhance provision further there remains a
need for ongoing empirical data drilling down more deeply into some of the aspects identified in this report.