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 learning support) 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 selected teachers responded to the survey.

Key findings from TALIS 2018

At the end of 2017, Year 7-10 teachers and principals in New Zealand reported high overall satisfaction in their jobs, but were less inclined to agree that the teaching profession is valued in society than in 2014. Teachers reported that they get on well with students and colleagues, they are well trained and well prepared to use technology. They are generally confident in their assessment practices and classroom management. However, teachers reported a reduction in class time spent teaching and an increase in class time spent on keeping order and administration tasks since the 2014 survey. While more teachers reported disruptive classroom behaviour than in 2014, most teachers felt able to address this behaviour. New Zealand had one of the largest increases in the percentage of principals reporting daily or weekly bullying and intimidation among students, which is consistent with findings from student voice surveys. For teachers and principals who said they experienced stress a lot, time spent on administrative work was the most common source of stress. Many teachers participate in deeper professional collaboration, such as collaborative professional learning or team teaching.

Teachers were generally well-prepared to enter the teaching profession. New Zealand teachers were asked which of 10 teaching elements had been covered in their formal education or training. On average, they reported covering 8 of these elements. Almost all (96%) novice teachers reported engaging in formal or informal induction at their first or current school. Teaching was the first choice of career for 55% of teachers. Fifty-six percent of novice teachers (with fewer than 5 years teaching experience) had an assigned mentor at their current school, significantly more than the OECD average of 22%.

Most teachers and principals are satisfied with their jobs overall. The proportion of teachers reporting overall satisfaction with their jobs (86%) was high but slightly below the OECD average (90%). Teachers’ satisfaction with the profession had declined from 2014. Principals’ overall job satisfaction was very high and similar to the OECD average at 94%.

In late 2017, when the survey was taken, only 36% of teachers were satisfied with their salary. By contrast, over two-thirds (69%) of teachers were satisfied with the terms of their employment apart from salary. Only around a third of both teachers (34%) and principals (36%) agreed that the teaching profession is valued in society, a drop of over 10 percentage points since 2014 in both cases. This survey was conducted before the significant pay settlements reached in 2019.

Twenty eight percent of New Zealand teachers reported experiencing stress ‘a lot’ in their jobs. This is significantly higher than the OECD average of 18%. Year 7-10 teachers identified “Having too much administrative work to do” (64%) and “Having too much marking” (48%) as the top sources of stress (‘quite a bit’ or ‘a lot’). Although New Zealand teachers’ average weekly hours on administrative tasks (4.3 hours) had decreased by about one hour since 2014, this was still above the OECD average of 2.7 hours per week. Administrative work was also the top source of stress for principals (63% ‘quite a bit’ or ‘a lot’), followed by “Keeping up with changing requirements from local or national authorities” (47%).

Among New Zealand teachers aged 50 and under, around one fifth (22%) reported that they wanted to continue working as a teacher for only five more years or less. One third of all New Zealand Year 7-10 teachers were aged over 50, and more than half of these teachers wanted to leave teaching within 5 years. While these statistics are a useful indicator of teachers’ intentions to leave, the observed retention rate from one year to the next is high at greater than 90%.

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%), a shortage of qualified teachers, and of teachers with competence in teaching students in a multicultural or multilingual setting (both 67%). When asked to rate potential investments, 76% of teachers reported that “reducing class size by recruiting more staff” was of high importance (OECD average 65%).

In New Zealand Year 7-10 teachers (full and part time) reported spending an average of 46 hours a week working. These hours were higher than the OECD average of 39 hours per week, but similar to other English-speaking countries. The average for full time teachers only was 48 hours per week. Those working in full primary and intermediate schools spent 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. Total weekly working hours is unchanged since 2014.

Teacher reports of disruptive classroom behaviour increased between 2014 and 2017, although New Zealand rates remained 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%).

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.

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 in the percentage of principals reporting daily or weekly bullying among students between 2014 and 2017 (16 percentage points).

Two-thirds of New Zealand principals reported that “Parents or guardians are involved in school activities” ‘quite a bit’ or ‘a lot’. This level of involvement was higher than the OECD average of 48%. However, the reported involvement of parents/guardians was higher in some types of schools than in others:

  • private (89%), state or state-integrated schools (66%);
  • schools with less than 30% of  students from disadvantaged backgrounds (71%),  compared with schools with 30% or more of students from disadvantaged backgrounds (42%);
  • schools with less than 10% of students from migrant backgrounds (72%), compared with schools with 10% or more of students from migrant backgrounds (45%).

Ninety-seven percent 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. Around three-quarters of teachers agreed that their school had a collaborative culture, and a similar proportion agreed that staff could actively participate in school decisions. In both instances this was a little lower than the OECD averages.

Every New Zealand principal reported that their school undertakes formal appraisal of teachers. Almost all teachers (99%) had received feedback on their work in their current school, of whom 77% reported that it had a positive impact on their teaching practice.

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%).

Professional development in ICT skills for teaching had one of the highest participation rates (73%) although more than half (53%) of New Zealand Year 7-10 teachers also reported a high or moderate level of need for professional development in this area. In contrast, professional development for teaching students with special needs was identified as an area of high or moderate need by over half (51%) of all teachers but was one of the areas of professional development that teachers participated in the least (32%).

57% of principals often or very often engage in taking actions to support co-operation among teachers to develop new teaching practices in their school (OECD average 59%).

New Zealand teachers engaged in co-operative activities more frequently than deeper forms of professional collaboration. Half to three-quarter of teachers engaged at least once a month in co-operative activities such as exchanging teaching materials or discussing specific students’ learning development. Nearly half of teachers participated in deeper professional collaboration through collaborative professional learning at least once a month (44%), a decrease of 14 percentage points since 2014.  Twenty-three percent of teachers regularly taught jointly as a team in the same class with another teacher. This had increased by 5 percentage points since 2014.

More frequent participation in deeper forms of professional collaboration had a positive association with teachers’ self-efficacy in every country, including New Zealand. In New Zealand the collaborative culture in schools was positively associated with job satisfaction.

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. Seventy-nine percent of teachers felt confident in using a variety of assessment strategies (OECD average 80%). Eighty percent of teachers often had students use ICT for projects and class work (OECD average 53%).

Job satisfaction is higher on average for New Zealand teachers when:

  • teaching was their first career choice,
  • they participated in induction activities at their current school,
  • induction included team teaching with experienced teachers,
  • they reported that professional development had a positive impact,
  • they agreed that the teaching profession is valued in society,
  • they reported receiving impactful feedback,
  • they had more autonomy in their teaching practice.

Job satisfaction is lower on average for teachers when:

  • they report higher workplace stress.

Self-efficacy is higher on average for teachers when:

  • they have more years of experience,
  • their induction included team teaching with experienced teachers,
  • they reported that professional development had a positive impact,
  • when professional collaboration was higher,
  • they had more autonomy in their teaching practice.

Self-efficacy is lower on average for teachers when:

  • they report a poor classroom disciplinary climate.

International Publications

June 2019: OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris.

March 2020: OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris.


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.

June 2019 New Zealand 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.

Further New Zealand reports were prepared by Nicola Marshall and Sarah Rendall (Educational Measurement and Assessment, EDK).