The following terms, commonly used in OECD studies such as Education at a Glance, ITEL, PISA and TALIS, provide a common language for OECD Review Teams studying diverse systems.


The formal process by which the quality of a programme or institution is evaluated, usually by an independent authority.


“Certification” is sometimes used interchangeably with “registration” or “licensure” to refer to the qualification received by a candidate teacher upon completion of an initial teacher education (ITE) programme. This qualification is issued by a teacher education institution and/or a national or sub-national level government authority. However, in some countries certification may not mean that he/she is qualified to teach or is entitled to full employment status as a regular teacher, which is often granted after a probationary or induction period or completing a certain number of hours of teaching and professional learning.


The ability to meet complex demands in a given context by mobilising various psychosocial (cognitive, functional, personal and ethical) resources. As such, teachers’ knowledge is part of their competence.

Concurrent initial teacher education programme

An initial teacher education programme that grants future teachers a single credential for studies in subject-matter content, pedagogy, and other courses  in education during the first period of post-secondary education.

Consecutive initial teacher education programme

An initial teacher education programme that requires future teachers to complete two phases of post-secondary education: university education with the focus on the subject-matter and a second phase with the focus on pedagogy and practicum.

Content knowledge (CK)

Knowledge of subject matter and its organising structures, further conceptualised by Ball, Thames and Phelps (2008) as specialised CK (knowledge unique to the work of teachers) and common CK (knowledge common to teachers and non-teachers).

Continuous professional development

The means by which teachers maintain and enhance their knowledge and skills throughout their careers, beyond initial teacher education.

General pedagogical knowledge (GPK)

The specialised knowledge of teachers in creating and facilitating effective teaching and learning environments for all students, independent of subject matter. Reference: Guerriero (ed) (2017: 80), Sonmark et al. (2017: 16).


Activities designed to support new teachers’ introduction into the teaching profession. Induction activities might be presented in formal structured programmes or they might be informally arranged as separate activities available to support new teachers, but such activities should be designed as one part of teachers’ ongoing professional learning.

Initial teacher education (ITE)

Education and training received by a teacher candidate as part of his/her initial teacher education programme, which may be undertaken in a teacher education institution, school or on-line.

Initial teacher preparation (ITP)

A composite of pre-service education and support for new teachers as part of in-service education.

In-service education

Education and training provided to prospective teachers after they are qualified to teach.

Lateral routes into teaching

Pathways into teaching offered by initial teacher education programmes that are not “regular” in terms of duration, content and/or certification and which are often designed for a particular profile of teacher candidates, for example short or fast-track programmes designed for specific groups such as high-profile young graduates, second-career candidates, candidates with some teaching experience, or graduates with high levels of subject knowledge.

New teacher

A teacher who has recently graduated from an initial teacher education programme. New teachers have typically been teaching for 1 to 2 years. In some countries, new teachers may be in a probationary period en route to full certification during this period.

Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)

Knowledge of content and pedagogy, or “blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems or issues are organised, represented and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners and presented for instruction” (Shulman, 1987).

Practical training

Practical teaching experience undertaken as part of an initial teacher education programme, which allows prospective teachers to observe, document, discuss and eventually perform in the role of a teacher, under the guidance of more experienced teachers, mentors and/or teacher educators. In some countries, this is known as a “practicum”, which occurs in blocks of time over the course of an initial teacher education programme; “clinical experience”, which follows the medical model embedding theory with practice so practical training and university-based learning often occur at the same time; or an “internship”, where students take-on a full-time placement, with the expectation of greater teaching responsibilities and may receive a stipend.

Pre-service education

Education and training provided to prospective teachers before they are qualified to teach.

Teacher candidate

A person who wishes to or is completing an initial teacher education programme to become a teacher. Candidate teachers are known as “trainee teachers”, “student teachers”, “interns” or “prospective teachers”.

School-university partnership

A deliberately designed, collaborative arrangement between different institutions (Goodlad, 1988:13) working together to achieve the same goals, notably to bridge theory and practice and enhance teacher candidates’ teaching practice.

Selection filters

Any process or tool which aims to identify and assess candidates’ required attributes for success in the profession, whether academic or non-academic, temporary or permanent – e.g. knowledge, skills, attitudes or dispositions (as orientations to action) (Wang, et al., 2003; Clandinin and Husu, 2017).

Teacher education institution (TEI)

Higher education institutions providing initial teacher education.

Teacher educator

Boundary-spanning teacher educator
An individual (typically employed by a local authority or teacher education institution) working in a hybrid role across school and university contexts. These individuals serve teacher candidates at any point along a professional continuum and are active participants in teacher preparation (AACTE, 2018).
School-based teacher educator
An individual involved in teacher preparation whose primary institutional home is a school. School-based teacher educators are a specific type of boundary-spanning teacher educators who assume mentoring and partnership responsibilities in addition to their school responsibilities. A school-based teacher educator may be otherwise known as a university liaison, site facilitator, cooperating teacher, mentor , collaborating teacher, or school liaison (AACTE, 2018).
University-based teacher educator
An individual involved in teacher preparation whose primary institutional home is a college or university. University-based teacher educators are a specific type of boundary-spanning teacher educators who engage in evaluation, coaching, instruction, and partnership and assume expanded and multiple responsibilities within, and often across, each of these four domains. A university-based teacher educator may be otherwise known as a university supervisor, university liaison, clinical supervisor, or clinical faculty (AACTE, 2018).

Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

Teacher’s knowledge of how to coordinate subject- or topic-specific activities with topic-specific representations (i.e. examples, models, analogies etc.) using emerging technologies with the intent of facilitating student learning (Cox & Graham, 2009). TPACK has been conceptualised as having three main elements including knowing where in the curriculum to include technology, which technology specifically to use and lastly, how to teach with it (McCrory, 2008).