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TALIS FAQ

Overview

1. What is TALIS?

The Teaching 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 assessment, but a self-reported survey.

TALIS is the outcome of a collaboration between its 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. TALIS is a periodic survey: after its first three successful cycles in 2008, 2013 and 2018, the fourth cycle of the TALIS will take place in 2024.

2. What are the topics addressed by TALIS?

TALIS aims to contribute to the debate about teaching as a profession. In its latest cycle in 2018, 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. More information on the conceptualisation of the eleven themes can be found in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018 Conceptual Framework.

Volume I of the TALIS 2018 results, Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, are related to the knowledge and skills dimension of teachers’ and school leaders’ work. It looks at how teachers apply their knowledge and skills in the classroom in the form of teaching practices, the demographic makeup of classrooms shaped by student diversity and the demographic and experience profiles of teachers and school principals. It also looks at the initial training provided to teachers and school leaders, as well as the activities they undertake for continuous professional development. Volume II of the TALIS 2018 results, Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, focused on prestige and job satisfaction, career opportunities, collaborative culture, and professional responsibility and autonomy.

3. Which countries and economies participate in TALIS?

The first cycle of TALIS was conducted in 2008 in 24 countries. The second cycle, TALIS 2013 – included 38 participants (34 participants in 2013 and 4 additional participants in 2014 and 2015). The latest cycle of the study, TALIS 2018 has expanded to include additional countries, bringing the total number of participants to 48 countries and economies. TALIS 2018 was answered by over 260 000 teachers and 15 000 school leaders from lower secondary, primary and upper secondary education levels.

In 2018, the main survey (ISCED level 2) was conducted in 31 OECD countries and economies – Alberta (Canada), Australia, Austria, Belgium (the Flemish Community of Belgium also participated as a sub-national entity of Belgium), Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England (United Kingdom), Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States. Non-OECD member countries who participated in TALIS 2018 are – Brazil, Bulgaria, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Croatia, Cyprus,[1],[2],[3] Georgia, Kazakhstan, Malta, Romania, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai (China), Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei,[3] the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam.
Additionally, in 2018, 15 countries and economies surveyed teachers and school leaders in their primary (ISCED level 1) schools, 11 did so in their upper secondary (ISCED level 3) schools and 9 countries conducted the survey in schools that participated in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) through the TALIS PISA link option.

[1] Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.
[2] Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
[3] Participation through the IEA International Study Centre

4. Who can use TALIS data?

Apart from participating countries and the OECD, TALIS data is available for download and use by interested researchers and data analysts working in the disciplines of social science and education. In addition to the TALIS international and national datasets, researchers and data analysts can use TALIS online tables available on OECD.Stat, the TALIS 2018 Technical Report, the OECD Education GPS and Compare your country as an aid to pursuing further research using the TALIS data.

Processes

5. 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. 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.

6. How are the questionnaires developed?

Two 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 and the European Commission. Input is also received from the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC).

The development 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 questions.

Questionnaire 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.

The themes covered in the TALIS questionnaires are those 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 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP). 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.

7. What is the selection process for the schools, principals and teachers that participate in the survey?

The 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.

8. How are teachers’ and principals’ answers collected? Are they confidential?

The selected teachers and school principals are asked to answer a teacher or a principal questionnaire. The questionnaires are administered on line or on paper and their completion requires between 45 and 60 minutes.
All information 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.

9. 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 principal.

Results

10. What are the main takeaways for policy from TALIS 2018?

TALIS is focused on the following policy priorities for education systems – attaching high-achieving candidates in the profession; providing quality initial and continuous training to newly recruited teachers and in-service teachers; support teachers in the continuous development of their careers and spread good practices; foster job satisfaction and status of the profession, with a view to retaining quality teachers and school leaders.

TALIS 2018 identifies the following policy goals for attracting and selecting high-caliber candidates into teacher education and leadership preparation

- monitor workforce dynamics and develop a diverse workforce
- enhance the prestige of teaching careers as a key element of their attractiveness

TALIS 2018 identifies the following policy goals for developing teaching professionals through high-quality pre-service preparation and in-service professional development

- provide high-quality initial education or pre-service training to future teachers and school leaders
- provide high-quality continuous professional development, with a focus on high-need areas
- lift barriers to participation in professional development

TALIS 2018 identifies the following policy goals for supporting teaching professionals’ growth through induction, mentoring and collaboration

- provide novice teachers and newly appointed school leaders with tailor-made support
- make the most of teachers’ time to support quality teaching and the use of effective teaching practices
- foster a school and classroom climate conducive to student learning and well-being
- develop a collaborative culture within schools
- foster mentoring and peer feedback as key attributes of professional work

TALIS 2018 identifies the following policy goals for empowering teaching professionals through autonomy and leadership and opportunities for career progression

- foster leadership at all levels of the system
- make the most of school leaders’ time to foster instructional leadership
- link appraisal with teachers’ career progression

TALIS 2018 identifies the following policy goals for retaining teaching professionals through fulfilling and rewarding work conditions, well-being and satisfactory jobs

- build a motivated and efficient teacher and principal workforce through attractive working conditions
- reduce stress and enhance well-being
- foster the intellectual fulfilment of the profession to boost job satisfaction
- boost teachers’ sense of fulfilment through enhanced self-efficacy

Joining TALIS 2024

11. What is new in TALIS 2024?

Compared to previous cycles, TALIS 2024 seeks to expand in terms of scale, depth and scope.

- Scale: Increment in the number of participating countries, with a special focus on expanding the coverage of OECD member countries and making the survey relevant for the contexts of developing countries and economies.
- Depth: Go deeper with those questionnaire items that address particular policy relevant topics, such as teachers’ pedagogical practices, professional development opportunities and special needs education.
- Scope: In addition to the three usual optional populations (i.e. primary schools, upper secondary schools, and PISA schools), include, on an optional basis, a survey module on staff members and leaders of early childhood education and care centres, a module on novice teachers and an assessment module on teachers’ general pedagogical knowledge.

12. How can my country participate in TALIS?

TALIS is now recruiting countries and economies interested in participating in its next data collection cycle in 2024 (TALIS 2024). Applications to participate in TALIS are considered upon receipt of an official letter informing the OECD of a country/economy’s desire to participate in TALIS, including confirmation of its intention to contribute to the international costs. Interested countries should get in touch with the TALIS Secretariat (contact talis@oecd.org) to receive information on the participation process.

- For more information, download our flyer.

13. What requirements and responsibilities do participating countries and economies have to fulfil during the TALIS cycle?

The fourth cycle of the study, TALIS 2024, entails a working period commitment of six years (2021-26), as preparations start well before survey administration and reporting of results takes place about a year later. Countries and economies interested in joining TALIS are expected to fulfil the following requirements:

- Contribute to the international costs of the survey.
- Cover national implementation costs.
- Nominate a representative for the TALIS Governing Board (TGB): This board is represented by all participating countries at senior policy levels and is responsible for specifying the policy priorities and standards for the development of indicators, establishment of survey instruments, and the reporting of results. The TGB meets about twice a year – usually February/March and October/November. Participation in the TGB for non-OECD countries and economies is optional.
- Appoint a national project manager (NPM) to carry out the surveys in the national context: The national project managers work with the OECD contractor on all issues related to the implementation of TALIS in their country. NPMs play a vital role in ensuring that TALIS is a high-quality project with results that can be verified and evaluated following OECD quality standards. They can also play an important role in the development and review of TALIS reports and publications, in consultation with their respective TGB member.

Other tasks for participating countries and economies:

- Take responsibility for drawing a representative sample of schools and teachers in compliance with the internationally agreed target population definitions and sampling procedures. In TALIS 2018, the field trial included a sample of approximately 30 schools and 600 teachers and the main study a sample of approximately 200 schools and 4 000 teachers.
- Have the authority and resources to recruit schools to participate and to administer the survey following a computer-based delivery system. Paper-based implementation might be an option at the request of countries and based on their capacity to manage printed materials.
- Oversee and cover the costs of translation and adaptation of the questionnaire and deal with related issues.
- Have the capacity for data collection, processing, quality assurance and reporting progress to the consortium.

14. How much does it cost for a country or economy to participate in TALIS?

It is too early in the TALIS 2024 cycle to provide final costs for the full cycle given that the tendering process for the appointment of an international consortium that will be responsible for the execution of the project is underway. However, it is estimated at this point that the international costs (i.e. costs not related to national operations) for non-OECD countries shall be in the range of EUR 170K-200K for the full cycle (2020-25, i.e. about EUR 30K per year). This tentative price range only takes into consideration participation in the main survey (i.e. lower secondary schools) and does not take into account the added costs for participation in any options/ modules.

Countries from the EU/EEA should be aware of the possibility of financial support by the European Commission for the cost of participation in the main survey.

In addition to the above international costs, the costs for the national implementation of the programme are borne entirely by participating countries. Countries are also required to cover the costs for international travel to attend the TALIS Governing Board meetings (optional for partner countries) and the national project manager meetings.