What is TALIS?
and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is the first international survey
that provides a voice to teachers and school principals, who complete
questionnaires about issues such as the professional development they have
received; their teaching beliefs and practices; the assessment of their work
and the feedback and recognition they receive; and various other school
leadership, management and workplace issues. TALIS relies on teachers' and
school leaders' expertise as professionals to describe their work situation as
accurately as possible, as well as their experiences in and feelings about
their schools and working conditions. It is not an assessement, but a
principals’ answers are then analysed in order to inform education policies
that promote the teaching profession and enhance teaching quality.
Cross-country analysis of this data allows countries to identify other
countries facing similar challenges and to learn from other policy approaches.
TALIS is a periodic
survey: after its first two successful cycles in 2008 and 2013, it will be
implemented again in 2018 and the following cycle will take place in 2024.
Who are the stakeholders?
TALIS is the
outcome of a collaboration between more than 45 participating countries and
economies, the OECD, an international consortium, Education International
(representing teacher unions) and the European Commission. It also benefits
from the input of other social partners, such as UNESCO.
Why is TALIS questionnaire-based?
The aim of
TALIS is to produce rich and reliable information on the whole population of
teachers and principals in a given country. Therefore, it collects a wealth of
information from a nationally representative group of teachers and principals,
in a timely fashion. To this end, TALIS sets a minimum sample size of 4 000
teachers and 200 school principals per country and asks participants to
complete a detailed questionnaire. There are minimum response rates of teachers
and principals to attain in order to ensure the collection of high-quality
How are the questionnaires developed? What sort of consultation
process does this involve?
questionnaires are developed in TALIS: a teacher and a principal questionnaire.
The goals of and the themes included in the questionnaires are identified by
the TALIS Governing Board, which is comprised of participating countries and
economies, Education International (representing teacher unions worldwide) and
the European Commission.
of the questionnaires is undertaken by a Questionnaire Expert Group (QEG),
managed by the TALIS consortium. The QEG develops a conceptual framework that
guides the questionnaire development. Upon countries’ approval of the
conceptual framework, the QEG translates the goals and priorities into survey
development has three major phases: a pilot, a field trial and a main survey.
The pilot study is conducted in a large number of participating countries and
consists of collecting feedback on the draft questionnaires from teachers and
principals convened in focus groups. The main goal of the field trial is to
collect quantitative information about the statistical and psychometric
properties of the questions in all participating countries, for example, to check
whether questions measure the same concepts across all countries and are
properly translated. After each phase, the draft questionnaires are revised and
reviewed by the QEG and approved by the participating countries. Upon approval
by the TALIS Governing Board, their final versions are used in the main survey.
Through all of
this process, relevant social partners are consulted and provide feedback on
the development of the conceptual framework and the questionnaires.
Can countries add their own questions to the survey?
covered in the TALIS questionnaires are those themes identified as priorities
by participating countries and economies through a priority rating exercise
(for TALIS 2018, this was conducted in 2015), as well as those identified by
the ministers of education in the latest International Summit of the Teaching
Profession. Beyond these common priority themes, a country has the possibility
of adding its own questions to the survey. To ensure the international
comparability of the questionnaire, national extensions and adaptations are
kept to a strict minimum and require review and pre-approval by the Consortium.
No question can be dropped, which is why some questions may seem less relevant
in a specific national context.
What is the selection process for the schools, principals and
teachers that participate in the survey?
international target population for TALIS consists of schools providing lower
secondary education, as well as their principals and teachers. TALIS countries
and economies can also opt to survey primary and upper secondary teachers and
principals. To enable comparability of education systems, the international
target population of TALIS excludes some special schools, such as schools
exclusively for adult education or for students with special needs. From the
national lists of eligible schools, TALIS randomly samples 200 schools per
country, and then selects 1 school leader and randomly samples 20 teachers in
each sampled school. OECD recommends that participation in this survey is
voluntary and any individual may withdraw from the survey at any time.
How are teachers’ and principals’ answers collected? Are they
teachers and school principals are asked to answer a teacher or a principal
questionnaire. The questionnaires are administered on line on, or paper and
their completion requires between 45 and 60 minutes.
that is collected in this study is treated anonymously and confidentially.
While results are made available by country and, for example, by the type of
school within a country, neither the teachers, the school principals, the
schools nor any school personnel can be identified in any report of the results
of the study. In addition, no staff member within the school has access to the
answers provided by a colleague.
How are the answers analysed?
questionnaires are completed, the information they contain is put into computer
data files in which the answers of survey participants are anonymous and each
survey participant is assigned an identification key. All national data files
are assembled by the consortium to create two international databases, one
containing all participating teachers’ responses, and another one containing
those of all participating principals.
The data are
then analysed by a team of policy analysts under the supervision of the OECD
Secretariat. The analyses conducted on these very large databases mainly
consist of computing percentages of teachers reporting certain information in
each country or on average across all countries. Correlation and regression
analyses are also conducted to estimate possible relationships between certain
factors and some scales combining responses from several questions are also
computed. The results of the analyses are then published in TALIS reports.
Can the data be used for assessing teachers’ or principals’
individual work or for accountability purposes?
The answer is a
clear "No". Such a use of the data would require being able to
identify schools, teachers and principals in the databases, which is not
possible. A school, a teacher, or a principal is always treated as an anonymous
data point among hundreds of thousands other data points. TALIS cannot and does
not intend to provide the results for any individual school, teacher or
What is the timeline of the current TALIS cycle?
first two successful cycles in 2008 and 2013, the third cycle of TALIS,
referred to as TALIS 2018, will take place in more than 45 countries and
economies from the fourth quarter of 2017 to mid-2018. The questionnaires
combine aspects of the 2008 and 2013 surveys with new aspects developed for
2018, such as innovative practices, teachers' stress and well-being, or
teaching in multicultural settings. Many steps will need to be completed before
the publication of the main results one year later, mid-year
2019: firstly, all national centres will enter and verify the data they
collected; then the international consortium will build the international
database; it will then complement it by adding survey weights and constructing
relevant scales and indices; and finally the OECD Secretariat will analyse the
data and prepare reports presenting the results. Overall, it will take one year
for the analysis to be published.