A new OECD report out 16 June 2009 will provide the first internationally comparable data on conditions affecting teachers in schools based on the findings of the OECD’s survey in 23 participating countries,
The findings of the survey will be made public at press conferences in Mexico, with OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, and Brussels, with OECD Deputy Secretary-General Aart De Geus, on Tuesday 16 June.
Further dissemination events will follow later in the year.
What TALIS is about
TALIS is the new OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey. It is the first international survey to focus on the learning environment and the working conditions of teachers in schools and it aims to fill important information gaps in the international comparisons of education systems. TALIS offers an opportunity for teachers and school principals to give their input into education analysis and policy development in some key policy areas. Cross-country analysis from TALIS will allow countries to identify other countries facing similar challenges and to learn from other policy approaches. The survey is currently being conducted in 24 countries across four continents, and other countries may join the survey at a later stage.
Who is to be surveyed in TALIS
TALIS surveys teachers of lower secondary education and the principals of the schools in which they work. Separate questionnaires for teachers and principals have been developed by an international expert group and have been discussed throughout their development with teacher representative bodies, in particular the Trades Union Advisory Council (TUAC) at the OECD. Each questionnaire takes about 45 minutes to complete. The TALIS survey can also be completed on line and the structure of the questionnaires has been adapted for computer use.
The survey responses are entirely confidential and at no time will the names of individual teachers, principals or schools be identified.
Within participating countries, schools as well as teachers within schools, are randomly selected to take part in TALIS. For each country – except for smaller countries – some 200 schools and 20 teachers within each of these schools are sampled.
Issues to be examined in TALIS
Countries participating in TALIS have chosen to focus the survey on the following key aspects of the learning environment, which can influence the quality of teaching and learning in schools:
The leadership and management of schools- the roles adopted by school leaders, given increasing accountability and devolution of educational authority and the impact this has on the learning environment in schools and the work of teachers (complementing the current OECD thematic review on school leadership).
The appraisal of teachers’ work in schools and the form and nature of the feedback they receive, as well as the use of outcomes from these processes to reward and develop teachers. Linked to this, the professional development that teachers undertake and how this is connected to appraisal systems, how it is supported by school leaders and how it impacts on classroom practices.
The profiles of countries with regard to teaching practices, activities, beliefs and attitudes, and how these vary according to teacher background characteristics.
Countries participating in TALIS
Twenty four countries take part in TALIS: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Malta, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey.
What TALIS will tell us about school leadership
Research has shown the important influence that the leadership of schools can have on the educational outcomes of students. TALIS will provide a profile of school leadership within countries and will illustrate how this profile varies between schools within countries and within different contexts.
School principals’ approach to leadership and management will be summarised in terms of the extent to which various activities are performed. These profiles will, for instance, indicate the different roles that school leaders adopt, including how much of an instructional leadership role is taken.
Not only will TALIS describe how schools are led and managed, but it will allow an examination of the school environment that is created by different approaches. The school environment will be characterised by, for instance, the degree of professional co-operation and collaboration between teachers, the level of teacher morale and job satisfaction, and the nature of student and teacher relations.
It is also important when examining these relationships to understand the context and conditions in which the school operates. In particular, TALIS will examine how school leadership interacts with the learning environment given the degree of autonomy that the school and its leadership have and the accountability frameworks to which the school is subject.
What TALIS will tell us about how good teaching is recognised and rewarded in schools
The systems and practices for reviewing the work of teachers, recognising and rewarding good teaching, and meeting teachers’ development needs can be vital in developing and retaining effective teachers. TALIS will examine how teachers’ work is appraised and how they receive feedback on their work, how frequently this occurs, who is involved in the process and what the outcomes are.
Together with information about the extent and type of school evaluation, analysis of the survey responses will reveal the degree to which these processes are motivated by administrative, accountability or developmental aims, and how different models shape the school environment. Analysis of these responses will throw light on the following questions:
How do different appraisal/feedback systems reward good teachers and support their development needs?
How are different systems associated with the extent of cooperation between teachers, their job satisfaction and job security?
How do different systems influence teachers’ teaching practices?
What TALIS will tell us about teachers’ professional development
There are strong demands for teachers to continuously update their knowledge and skills, so access to good quality, professional development is vital. TALIS will reveal how well the development needs of teachers are being met, by looking at:
The amount and type of professional development undertaken
The support provided for undertaking professional development and the barriers encountered
The impact that different forms of professional development has had on teachers’ work
The types of development needs that teachers feel they have
Systems of induction and mentoring for new teachers.
What TALIS will tell us about teaching practices and beliefs
The quality of the learning environment at the classroom level is, influenced by the teaching methods and classroom practices used by teachers. TALIS will not measure the effectiveness of teachers or of different teaching practices. Rather, it will contrast profiles of teaching practices, attitudes and beliefs among the participating countries. In terms of teaching practices, survey responses from teachers in TALIS will be summarised to examine whether different teaching practices can be identified, such as practices that tend to focus on direction from the teacher and others that are more open-ended in their approach.
Complementing this, TALIS will also provide a comparative picture of teachers’ beliefs about teaching. This picture will, for example, contrast traditional views on teaching (such as direct transmission) with non-traditional views.
Together, analysis of the survey responses will allow investigation of how teaching practices and beliefs vary according to various school, teacher and classroom characteristics (including the climate of the school) and how they correlate with teachers’ professional activities (such as professional development activities or collaboration with other teachers).
TALIS Timelines (as of 30 March, 2009)
Pilot study conducted
Field trial conducted
Conduct Main Study
Data collection phase completed
Southern hemisphere countries
Northern hemisphere countries
Drafting of the initial report
Release of initial report
16 June 2009
Publication and provisional title
"Creating effective teaching and learning environments: First results from the OECD Teaching and Learning Survey"
A successful field test of the questionnaires and the survey procedures was carried out in all countries during 2007 and the survey has gone “live” in Australia, Brazil, Korea and Malaysia and will do so in the rest of the countries between February and May 2008. The first international report from TALIS will be published in mid-2009, after which a number of thematic reports will be published.
For more information on TALIS, please contact:
Michael Davidson - Senior Analyst
Tel: 33 (1) 45 24 92 25
Ben Jensen - Analyst
Tel: + 33 (1) 45 24 98 05
Isabelle Moulherat - Assistant
Tel: + 33 (1) 45 24 18 72
Postal address: 2 rue de André Pascal, Paris 75016, France