STUDENTS will be asked to rate their teachers and the results will be used to push underperforming schools to lift their game.
In a move that has reignited tensions with the teachers union, the state government will survey students on how their teachers perform, and then use the information to shape the way staff should improve in the classroom.
While some schools already sought student feedback, Education Minister Martin Dixon said the process was voluntary and ''not a lot is done with the results''.
Under the government's plan, more schools would be required to participate, and questions would cover a broader range of topics - from how the curriculum is taught, to whether or not teachers are giving students a clear enough picture about their strengths, weaknesses and future.
''We need to have a deeper understanding about how students learn, and what works for them,'' Mr Dixon said. ''I think we underestimate how important it is to use what students are saying on a whole range of issues. They're incredibly insightful.''
The plan for students to assess their teachers is contained in a policy paper released last week, which ambitiously aims to lift the performance of Victoria's students into the global top tier in the next 10 years.
But while principals said they supported the idea, teachers were not impressed.
''We do not lack data - what we lack is support,'' Australian Education Union Victorian president Mary Bluett said. ''You can't just say schools have to lift their game and not provide the necessary resources.''
The president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, Frank Sal, welcomed the changes. He said ''performance management'' was not a new concept, but ought to be streamlined, and ''getting feedback from students should really be a component of that. Teachers need to recognise that they need to be involved in performance development in an ongoing way so they really meet the needs of their kids.''
The government's policy paper, Towards Victoria as a Learning Community, also proposes:
■Creating a code of conduct for parents as a condition of enrolment.
■Head-hunting business leaders to drive reform in schools.
■Clearer report cards for students and an ''uncluttering'' of the school curriculum.
■Getting principals to review each others' performance and hold one another to account.
The policy paper is underpinned by the Coalition's desire to give principals greater autonomy and make schools more accountable for their results.
But the reaction so far has been mixed, and some have criticised the government for asking more of schools without providing additional funding.
Parents Victoria spokeswoman Gail McHardy said it was critical for students to have a voice in shaping their education. Being surveyed and interviewed about their teachers' performance ''gives them the opportunity to share what things are working and where things may need to be further explored'', she said.