ACET Appraisal guide

Background information

The Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher (ACET) allowance recognises a classroom teacher whose practice is demonstrably higher than the experienced teacher professional standards. ACET was introduced as part of the settlement of the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement 2013-2015 (PTCA). ACET recognition is based on eligibility and professional criteria agreed between the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa as part of that settlement.

An ACET recognised teacher receives an ongoing allowance of $5,000 per annum, paid fortnightly.

The ACET allowance recognises that there are primary teachers who have developed an exemplary level of classroom practice. It provides an alternative career pathway (as opposed to formalised leadership and management roles) for teachers who want to stay in the classroom and who have developed their expertise to a level above that of the Experienced Teacher professional standards.

In keeping with this alternative career pathway purpose, ACET recognised teachers are not expected to undertake additional tasks as a consequence of receiving the ACET allowance. Where they are already receiving a permanent or fixed term unit for wider school responsibilities this should continue in recognition of that wider contribution.

To be recognised as an ACET, a teacher must demonstrate that they meet each section of the professional criteria:

Gaining ACET recognition

Teachers receiving the ACET allowance have been recognised by an independent panel of experts as demonstrating teaching practice higher than that set out in the Experienced Teacher professional standards. An objective, professionally rigorous evaluation process has been followed in order to determine that the ACET recognised teacher’s practice is considered exemplary on the basis of a portfolio of evidence which has been found to demonstrate:

  • innovative approaches to teaching and learning that demonstrate creativity in thought and action
  • ongoing development of teaching practice through thoughtful application of research and theory
  • depth of insight into how and why children learn in relation to analyses of student progress
  • proactive engagement with families/whānau related to the facilitation of student learning
  • engagement in professional learning and development that correlates with in-school appraisal processes.

The principal’s ongoing role (yearly verification)

Once a teacher has gained ACET recognition the principal’s role is to ensure that “attestation of practice… against the ACET professional criteria, is maintained as part of the school’s annual appraisal process” (PTCA 3.32.3).

What this means in practice is that the principal must verify that an ACET recognised teacher (a) remains eligible to receive the ACET allowance under the provisions of PTCA 3.32.2 and (b) continues to build their practice in ways that embody the ACET professional criteria within their annual school appraisal requirements for attestation and teacher registration.

Each November principals will be sent a form requiring verification that the teacher has continued to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • an average of at least 20 hours per week in the classroom (0.8 Full Time Teacher Equivalent) throughout the year (excluding paid or unpaid leave)
  • a successful attestation against the ACET professional criteria
  • holding no more than one permanent unit.

Incorporating ACET attestation within schools’ existing appraisal processes

Schools will have developed their own annual performance systems against which teachers are appraised. These systems should be able to incorporate the ACET professional criteria into their existing appraisal documentation which may include a teacher’s job description, performance agreement, goals and professional learning plan, depending on the school’s system. These documents can continue to be used to help set annual performance and learning and development goals which align with the school charter and school-wide goals. In this way, professional discussions between the principal and/or senior management team member(s) responsible for the ACET recognised teacher’s annual appraisal should include the principles underpinning ACET recognition, such as the ways that an ACET recognised teacher is continuing to demonstrate innovation, build on their teaching practice through ongoing professional development and lead by exemplary practice.

How will this impact on a school’s current annual appraisal process?

There should not be a substantial impact for schools where the annual appraisal process currently focuses equally on the accountability and development of the teacher; is based on objective and multiple perspective evidence; is clear; and is well understood by all staff.
Consideration of the ACET professional criteria should be associated with the usual goal setting and appraisal processes.

Further information about good practices in teacher appraisal can be found at the New Zealand Teachers’ Council Appraisal of Teachers Project.

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