TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey)

The Teaching and Learning International Survey is an international study of teachers and teaching.

What is TALIS?

The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is a large scale survey focusing on teachers and teaching. The results provide insights from Year 7-10 teachers and their principals on a wide range of educational matters and the environment in which teachers work. TALIS provides an opportunity for teachers and principals to provide input into educational policy analysis and development in key areas.

TALIS examines:

  • the way in which teachers' work is recognised, appraised and rewarded
  • the degree to which teachers' professional-development needs are being met
  • the beliefs and attitudes about teaching that teachers bring to the classroom
  • the teaching practices that teachers adopt
  • the role of school leaders and the support that they give teachers
  • the extent to which certain factors may relate to teachers' feelings of job-satisfaction and self-efficacy.

The overall objective of TALIS is to provide robust international indicators and policy-relevant analysis on teachers and teaching. Because TALIS cannot measure teaching effectiveness directly, it looks at themes that are not only policy priorities for participating countries but have also been shown in the research literature to be associated with high quality teaching. Cross-country analyses provide the opportunity to compare countries facing similar challenges to learn about different policy approaches and their impact on the learning environment in schools. Furthermore, as TALIS has now been run for two cycles in New Zealand, we can begin to see trends and patterns..

The study is a collaboration between participating countries, the OECD, an international research consortium, social partners (including international teacher unions) and the European Commission.

How often is TALIS held?

Internationally, TALIS has been held three times. Previous cycles were conducted in 2008 and 2013. New Zealand participated in TALIS for the first time in the 2013 cycle as an addition country. For the 2013 cycle New Zealand data was collected after the release of the international report, in Term 4, 2014. For the 2018 cycle, data was collected in Term 4, 2017, by the Educational Measurement and Assessment team of the Ministry of Education, in co-operation with the international study consortium.

Who responded to the TALIS questionnaires?

Internationally over 240,000 teachers and 13,000 principals in 48 countries participated in the TALIS survey. The study surveyed lower secondary teachers in all countries with some also participating at the primary and upper secondary level.

In New Zealand, a representative sample of Year 7-10 teachers and their school principals were randomly selected to participate in TALIS. A stratified sampling design ensured a spread of different sizes, institution types, state or independent schools and decile groups.  The teachers who participated were randomly selected from a list of eligible teachers provided by the school.  Selected teachers and principals completed the TALIS questionnaires on paper or online. In New Zealand questionnaires were available in both English and te reo Māori.

In late 2017, 2,257 full or part-time teachers (from any subject including special needs) and 189 principals, from 190 schools across New Zealand participated in the TALIS survey. The 190 schools varied in type, including; state, state-integrated, independent, and partnership schools, including Māori-medium schools. Although participation was voluntary, 79% of teachers responded to the survey.

Key findings from TALIS 2018

Overall the findings are that teachers in New Zealand report high satisfaction in their jobs, get on well, are well trained and well prepared to use technology, are generally confident in their assessment practices and classroom management. However, they report a reduction in class time spent teaching and an increase in class time spent on keeping order and administration tasks. In addition, principals are reporting an increase in the frequency of incidents of bullying and intimidation among students.

Across the survey the key points to note for New Zealand are:

  • Teachers report high satisfaction in their jobs in a number of measures. Though only a third of teachers feel valued by society (34%).
  • 97% of teachers agreed that teachers and students at their school get on well with each other and 90% agreed that teachers can rely on each other at their school.
  • A high proportion of teachers (80%) often have students use ICT for projects and class work.
  • Most teachers (85%) felt able to address disruptive behaviour in the classroom. Ninety percent of teachers had received training in classroom management as part of their initial teacher training and just under half (47%) had participated in professional development focused on student behaviour and classroom management in the past 12 months.
  • Teachers are generally well prepared to enter the teaching profession, with initial teacher training covering on average 8 out of the 10 topics asked about in TALIS. As well, 96% of novice teachers reported engaging in formal or informal induction at their first or current school.
  • Almost all teachers (98%) had engaged in some professional development in the past 12 months. Release from teaching duties (70%) and the reimbursement or payment of costs (51%) were the two main factors reported by teachers as supporting their participation in professional development.
  • The largest reported barrier to participation in professional development was that it conflicts with the teacher’s work schedule (56%).
  • New Zealand teachers reported more frequent use of cognitive activation practices, compared to the OECD average, such as giving tasks that require students to think critically, and having students work in small groups or decide on their own procedures to solve problems.
  • Most teachers (79%) felt confident in using a variety of assessment strategies.
  • In New Zealand on average, teachers (full and part time) reported spending 46 hours a week working, which was similar to other English speaking countries. Full time teachers working in full primary and intermediate schools reported spending an average of 53 hours per week working compared to full time teachers in composite and secondary schools who reported working on average 46 hours per week.
  • There was no change in total weekly working hours since 2014. Hours spent teaching per week on average had increased by around one-and-a-half hours, to 20 hours per week.
  • Teacher reports of disruptive classroom behaviour increased between 2014 and 2017, although New Zealand rates remain similar to the OECD average. In classes where there were more disciplinary issues, teachers reported less time being spent on teaching and learning.
  • Since 2014, the average proportion of class time teachers spent on actual teaching and learning had decreased from 81 percent to 77 percent, with corresponding increases of time spent on classroom management (from 12% to 15%) and administrative tasks (from 7% to 8%).
  • A third (35%) of principals reported that incidents of intimidation or bullying among students occurred on a daily or weekly basis at their school. New Zealand also showed one of the largest increases (16%) in principal reports of daily or weekly bullying among students between 2014 and 2017.
  • When asked to rate potential investments, 76% of teachers reported that “reducing class size by recruiting more staff” was of high importance.
  • When principals were asked to what extent resource issues hindered their ability to provide a quality education, they were concerned to at least some extent with: a shortage or inadequacy of time for instructional leadership (73%), a shortage of teachers with competence in teaching students with special needs (70%) and a shortage of qualified teachers (67%).

Date of Publication

20th June 2019 (NZ); 19th June 2019 (Internationally)


We would like to thank the teachers and principals from the 190 schools who participated in the survey. Their efforts and contributions have provided New Zealand with a valuable resource. Furthermore, we acknowledge the collaborative effort of educators and researchers across the world, led by the OECD secretariat and the international study consortium.

The Ministry of Education Educational Measurement and Assessment team was responsible for New Zealand’s participation in the design and implementation of TALIS: Debra Taylor (National Project Manager), Nicola Marshall (National Data Manager), Rachel Borthwick, Anahita Paul, Brigitte Bedendo, Watson Pita and Katrina Gregory.

These reports were prepared by the Ministry of Education Evidence, Data and Knowledge group: Hannah McCardle (Evidence, Synthesis and Reporting) and Nicola Marshall (Educational Measurement and Assessment); with assistance from Rachel Borthwick, Jessica Forkert, Gregory Keeble, Alexandra McGregor and Debra Taylor.