Skip Navigation

Frequently Asked Questions About the Survey

1. What’s new in 2013?

TALIS 2013 offers new questionnaire items not included in TALIS 2008, though a number of items used in 2008 were retained to allow reporting of changes over time. In addition, TALIS 2013 includes teachers of students with special needs, who were not included in 2008.

2.   What is the target population for TALIS 2013?

The core target population in TALIS is ISCED* Level 2 teachers and school principals. ISCED Level 2 corresponds to grades 7, 8, 9 in the United States.

At selected schools, any staff member with instructional responsibilities for grade 7, 8, and/or 9 students—whether with a whole class or a single student—is eligible to be selected. This means that classroom teachers as well as “pull-out” and “push-in” instructors will be included in the study.

Once a school is selected, we ask that the principal (or head administrator) and a random selection of up to 22 teachers complete online questionnaires. If a school has fewer than 22 teachers that teach students in grades 7, 8, or 9, all teachers are selected. Schools and teachers are randomly selected in order to ensure that participating schools and teachers in the country truly represent the variety of schooling available.

*ISCED stands for the International Standard Classification of Education. Details on the ISCED classification system can found at

3.   What sorts of topics does TALIS 2013 explore?

TALIS 2013 explores the following topics: teachers’ and principals’ backgrounds and characteristics; teacher and principal professional experience and development; school staffing, funding, and student body characteristics; school leadership and management; teacher appraisal and feedback; teacher induction and mentoring; teachers’ subject matter (class) assignments; teachers’ instructional approaches and assessment practices; teachers’ and principals’ job satisfaction; and school climate.

4. How are the TALIS instruments developed?

Survey items for the TALIS questionnaires are developed in a collaborative, international process.
Led by the OECD and its contractors, national representatives from each participating country meet several times throughout a year to develop and refine the survey items. The themes of TALIS (e.g., teacher evaluation and feedback) are based on the policy and research priorities of all participating countries. Based on these priorities, new items are developed and items from previous rounds are reviewed. All items are included in a field trial conducted in every participating country. The field trial is used to identify items that do not function as designed or that may be inappropriate or do not easily translate into the various national contexts. Finally, the final survey instruments are reviewed and approved by the national representatives.

There is an extensive translation verification process.
Each participating country is responsible for translating the survey instruments into their own language or languages, unless the original survey items are in the language of the country. Each country identifies translators to translate the source versions into their own language. External translation companies independently review each country's translations. Instruments are verified twice, once before the field test and again before the main data collection. Statistical analyses of the item data are then conducted to check for evidence of differences in response patterns across countries that could indicate a translation problem. If a translation problem with an item is discovered in the field test, it is removed for the final survey instruments.

5. How is cross-country comparability monitored?

Procedures for administration are standardized and independently verified.
TALIS is designed, developed and implemented by international organizations that have extensive experience in large-scale international data collection projects. These coordinating organizations produce a number of manuals that are provided to each country's representative for the administration of the questionnaires. These manuals specify standardized procedures that all countries must follow on all aspects of assessment sampling, preparation, administration, and scoring. The countries themselves organize their own quality control monitors to observe the survey administration processes, and the OECD also organizes an independent group of quality control monitors to observe the survey administration process. Instances in which the quality of the data collected cannot be independently verified can lead to the data being omitted from international reports.

6. Is participation mandatory?

Participation in TALIS is entirely voluntary. However, because potential respondents are randomly chosen to represent others like themselves, the participation of each chosen respondent is very important to obtaining accurate results. Respondents may also skip individual items if they wish.