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Evidence of practice

Once you have decided to proceed to the application phase in pursuit of Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher accreditation, you will need to develop a cohesive body of evidence that supports your application.

Select your evidence

The evidence you gather to support your application, needs to confirm that you are achieving all the Standard Descriptors at the relevant career stage, described in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

This evidence is made up of:

  • documentary evidence
  • reports from referees
  • report from an external observer.

Applications considered strong and likely to succeed in achieving higher level accreditation, demonstrate:

  • enough evidence selected carefully to show achievement of all the Standard Descriptors at the relevant career stage (Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher)
  • thoughtful selection of evidence of practice ensuring the evidence you select addresses the full complexity of the Standard Descriptors at the relevant level
  • quality evidence instead of quantity of superficial evidence
  • an appropriate balance in the way the three sources of evidence (i.e. documentary, referee and observer) are used
  • use of multiple sources of evidence to ensure that the full complexity of Standard Descriptors are demonstrated; for instance some Standard Descriptors may be addressed by referee and documentary evidence, while others may be addressed by all three, the focus is on a thoughtful and balanced selection.

Applications that are generally deemed weak are likely to show:

  • documentary evidence that is repetitive – for example multiple lesson plans or multiple referees commenting on the same Standard Descriptor at the relevant career stage
  • lack of balance in the way the Standard Descriptors are supported by evidence - for instance seven Standard Descriptors attested to by referees only, three Standard Descriptors observed by the external observer only or 30 Standard Descriptors covered by documentary evidence only
  • documentary evidence that does not fulfil the description provided in the annotation
  • superficial connection of evidence to the Standard Descriptor - an example is if a Standard has ‘evaluate and monitor’ or ‘initiate and lead’ as an aspect of teaching practice, then the evidence should show this.

Documentary evidence and annotations

When preparing your documentary evidence you need to:

  • consider your practice against the Standard Descriptors at the relevant career stage
  • select documents that best reflect your practice
  • decide which Standard Descriptor/s each documents supports
  • write the annotations.

As a candidate pursuing higher level accreditation, you can use evidence that may have been developed while you were working at different schools prior to starting your application. You will be asked to identify those schools in your application.

All evidence you provide will be considered by the Teacher Accreditation Authority (Highly Accomplished/Lead) or TAA (A/L) on the basis of its continuing relevance to your practice at the relevant career stage. The information you forward about your school(s) provides a context for your evidence.

More information on evidence for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher accreditation can be found in the:

Referee reports

Referee reports are provided by colleagues who can attest to your practice against the Standard Descriptors at either Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher. It is important that you consider the number of Standard Descriptors you allocate to your referees and the amount of time you allow them to complete their report.

The Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher – Information for Referees (PDF 566 KB), has information on the role and responsibilities of referees that candidates can refer their referees to, as they step through the accreditation process.

If you are applying for Lead Teacher accreditation, at least one of your referees will need to refer to the Lead Initiative with details of its impact on the identified Standard Descriptor(s).

External Observer

Once you request an external observation through your online account, NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA, previously BOSTES) will assign an external observer to come to your school and observe your practice. Your request should be made well in advance of the time when you would like the observation to occur. You may negotiate the timing of observations with your assigned observer and the school principal/service director.

The external observation is an independent view of your practice and provides some of the evidence to substantiate your claim for accreditation. When you are planning your external observation day, think carefully about the structure of the day and the number of Standard Descriptors specific to the career stage, you wish the observer to observe.

The Lead Initiative

Lead Teacher candidates are required to describe a ‘Lead Initiative’ from their practice. This forms a key part of the application at this level. The selection of a Lead Initiative needs to fulfil a set of practice criteria. It has to:

  • be implemented over a minimum of 6 months
  • demonstrate leadership in design and/or implementation and evaluation
  • show its impact on colleagues’ knowledge and/or practice.

The candidate’s annotated evidence should reference the Lead Initiative with at least one referee statement mentioning the initiative and its impact to the assigned Standard Descriptor/s.

The description of your Lead Initiative is uploaded as a separate document.

More details on the Lead Initiative can be found in the Policy for Accreditation at Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (PDF 346 KB) and the Evidence Guide for the Lead Teacher Standards p. 6-7 (PDF 767 KB).

Other resources to help develop your application

Assessment Rubric

The key features of a successful application for accreditation at:

The information provided by the rubrics identifies expectations of each evidence type for gaining accreditation at the specific career level.

MCC advice and Evidence Guides

Advice from the Moderating and Consistency Committee (MCC), Evidence Guide for Highly Accomplished Teacher Standards (PDF 725 KB) and the Evidence Guide for the Lead Teacher Standards (PDF 767 KB) are resources available to help develop your application.

Information sessions

NESA (previously BOSTES) delivers information sessions for teachers considering higher level teacher accreditation at Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher. Find out more.

The next step

Submit your application online.

More information

Please email us at or call us on 1300 739 338 (within Australia), if you have any questions.