What is TALIS?

The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is an international, large-scale survey of teachers, school leaders and the learning environment in schools. TALIS uses questionnaires administered to teachers and their school principals to gather data. Its main goal is to generate internationally comparable information relevant to developing and implementing policies focused on school leaders, teachers and teaching, with an emphasis on those aspects that affect student learning. It gives a voice to teachers and school leaders, allowing them to provide input into educational policy analysis and development in key areas. It is also a collaboration between participating countries and economies, the OECD, an international research consortium, teachers’ unions and the European Commission.

TALIS must serve the goals of its three main beneficiaries: policy makers, education practitioners and researchers. First, it must help policy makers review and develop policies that promote the teaching profession and the best conditions for effective teaching and learning. Second, TALIS must also help teachers, school leaders, and education stakeholders to reflect upon and discuss their practice and find ways to enhance it. Third, TALIS must build upon past research while informing the future work of researchers.

In 2018, the main survey of TALIS aimed at lower secondary education was implemented in 48 countries and economies. On an optional basis, 15 countries and economies surveyed teachers and school leaders in their primary (ISCED level 1) schools and 11 did so in their upper secondary schools.

Primary education participants: Australia, Ciudad Autonóma de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Denmark, England (United Kingdom), the Flemish Community of Belgium, France, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Chinese Taipei, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam.

Upper secondary education participants: Alberta (Canada), Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Chinese Taipei, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam.

Nine main themes were selected for inclusion in the TALIS survey: teachers’ instructional practices, school leadership, teachers’ professional practices, teacher education and initial preparation, teacher feedback and development, school climate, job satisfaction, teacher human resource issues and stakeholder relations, and teacher self-efficacy. Two cross-cutting themes were added to this list: innovation, and equity and diversity.

The key features of TALIS 2018 survey design are as follows:

  • International target population: teachers and school leaders of mainstream schools in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education.

  • Target sample size: 200 schools per country; 20 teachers and 1 school leader in each school per educational level.

  • Target response rates for teachers: 75% of the sampled schools, together with a 75% response rate from all sampled teachers in the country. A school is considered to have responded if 50% of sampled teachers respond.

  • Target response rates for school leaders: 75% of the sampled school leaders.

  • Questionnaires: Separate questionnaires for teachers and school leaders, each requiring between 45 and 60 minutes to complete.

  • Mode of data collection: questionnaires completed on paper or on line.

  • Survey windows: September to December 2017 for Southern Hemisphere countries (with some countries extending into January 2018 as an exception) and March to May 2018 for Northern Hemisphere countries (with some early starting participants in January and February, and some extending into July 2018).

Further details on the sample for all target populations can be found in Annex A.

TALIS results are based exclusively on self-reports from teachers and school leaders and, therefore, represent their opinions, perceptions, beliefs and accounts of their activities. No data imputation from administrative data or other studies is conducted. Giving a voice to teachers provides insight into how they perceive the learning environments in which they work and how policies that are put in place are carried out in practice. But, as with any self-reported data, this information is subjective and may, therefore, differ from data collected through other means (e.g. administrative data or video observations). The same is true of school leaders’ reports about school characteristics and practices, which may differ from descriptions provided by administrative data at a national or local government level.

In addition, as a cross-sectional survey, TALIS cannot measure causality. For instance, in examining the relationship between teachers’ participation in professional development and self-efficacy in teaching, it is possible to determine the sense (positive, negative) of the association, its strength and its statistical significance, but it is not possible to establish whether participating in professional development depends on self-efficacy or whether self-efficacy depends on participation in professional development.

The chapters included in this volume are the following:

  • Chapter 1 gives readers an overview of the main findings and recommendations of this present volume across educational levels.

  • Chapter 2 focuses on the demographic characteristics of principals and teachers, their motivations to join the profession, along with the characteristics of their places of work.

  • Chapter 3 looks at the pre-service training of teachers, their subject-specific profiles, along with their teaching practices.

  • Chapter 4 addresses topics concerning induction, mentoring, professional development and the use of feedback in schools.

  • Chapter 5 addresses topics concerning school organisation, teacher autonomy, collaboration and policy priorities.

  • Chapter 6 explores teachers’ working conditions and arrangements, along with their job satisfaction, levels of stress, and intentions to leave teaching.

  • Annex A contains information about the TALIS target populations, TALIS samples and a summary of the adjudication outcomes for each sample, along with cautionary notes about the interpretations of results, whenever necessary.

  • Annex B contains information about complex variables derived from the teacher and principal questionnaires analysed in the volume, and statistical methods used to analyse TALIS data.

  • Annex C contains the full list of online result tables.

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