The OECD program TALIS and framing, measuring and selling quality teacher™

Sorensen, T.B. and Robertson, S.L.


This paper examines the pivotal role of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) in orchestrating the framing of the problem of ‘teacher quality’ for global competitiveness, and the ongoing political work of the OECD and allied institutions in promoting this brand of Quality Teacher™ through its Teaching and Learning International Assessment (TALIS). We explore the wider politics at work and the implications of TALIS as a political construct, process, and global governing tool and show a dual dynamic at work involving the formation of institutions and processes at a global scale, to frame, measure and sell a particular brand of teacher; one who is flexible, privileges constructivism as a pedagogical approach, and who uses ‘evidence ‘to make teaching and learning decisions. Taken together, the OECD’s activities in framing, measuring and selling the Quality Teacher™ – whilst legitimated as creating the new professional teacher – paradoxically challenges teacher authority, relocates the governing of teachers to the global scale, and sells a slimmed down version of possibilities regarding teacher quality.

In International Handbook of Teacher Quality and Policy, edited by M. Akiba and G.K. LeTendre, 117-131. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.