Threshold assessment is part of a framework of pay and standards that provides a focus for a teacher’s career and professional development.
The threshold assessment process is operable when a teacher has completed one year on point 6 of the Main Pay Scale and wishes to be considered for movement to point 1 of the Upper Pay Scale.
Movement to point 1 of the Upper Pay Scale is not automatic.
Threshold assessment works alongside performance review and staff development arrangements and information from PRSD reviews – including information from classroom observation – provides an important part of the evidence to support threshold applications (PRSD Scheme 5.10).
The threshold standards (and advice on appropriate evidence sources to support them) and supplementary information is provided in the Threshold Assessment Northern Ireland Handbook.
To ‘cross the threshold’ teachers must demonstrate that they have met all four standards of effective teaching. The standards relate directly or indirectly to teaching and learning:
- Core values, understanding of the curriculum and professional knowledge;
- Teaching and assessment of learning;
- Contribution to raising standards through pupil achievement;
- Effective professional development.
The threshold standards embody the high professional expectations appropriate for experienced teachers. A teacher who is able to demonstrate effectiveness in each of these standards will be effective overall.
In order to achieve this, teachers need to have good knowledge of the subjects they teach and a clear understanding of the educational initiatives and developments that impact on them and their pupils.
Teachers applying to ‘cross the threshold’ will be assessed against the four standards on evidence of performance.
Duty on Governing Bodies and Principals/Line Managers
The governing body has no direct involvement in the assessment of applications for threshold. However, the principal must report the outcome of the process to the governing body. The governing body will have responsibility for any appeals against the principal’s decision by unsuccessful applicants.
Principals have a duty to assess threshold applications (including those from teachers currently absent from school for any reason and those who have left the school after submitting their application) in line with their professional responsibility for evaluating the standards of teaching and learning in the school. Where a teacher has cited evidence from more than one school, principals should consult the previous principal(s). Where evidence is cited from PRSD review statements these must be available to the assessing principal. Principals have a duty to give feedback to all threshold applicants.