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Welcome on the pages of the Center for Research on education and School Development!

The Center for Research on Education and School Development (IFS) at the TU Dortmund is committed to all areas of education research – from the description, explanation, and improvement of the organization and management of schools and the school system, to the analysis of educational processes and educational outcomes of students of different age groups in different contexts. Not limited to students, the research takes into account parents, teachers, school administration, and institutional frameworks. A special focus is research into the reform and development processes of schools and the school system, as well as the necessary conditions for these processes and their outcomes. 

The IFS is divided into three research areas, differentiated by emphasis:  

Research Area I

Led by Prof. Dr. Wilfred Bos, Educational Monitoring and School Development Research includes national and international comparative large-scale studies (TIMSS, PIRLS, ICILS and NEPS) and studies on system monitoring. The working group is also responsible for school development projects focusing on educational justice in the area of metropolitan Ruhr, combining research and consultancy, and offering advisory services to schools and other educational administrative structures.

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Research Area II

Professor Dr. Heinz Günter Holtappels leads the working group School Development and Effectiveness, doing research into school reform and development processes, as well as research on the quality and effectiveness of educational organization and design in schools. Empirical research on preconditions, success factors, and the effects of school development processes is as much a focus as the identification of relevant influences on the quality of educational design, student learning and skills acquisition.

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Research Area III

Prof. Dr. Nele McElvany, acting director of the IFS, leads the working group Empirical Educational Research- teaching and learning in the school setting with a research focus on the description, explanation, and improvement of educational processes and success in terms of skills acquisition and educational participation across diverse backgrounds and age groups.

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Teacher Training Center from Shanghai at the IFS


22.06.2018 – On July 22, IFS welcomed Ms. Li Ding from the Teacher Training Center in Shanghai, China. In joint discussions, overlapping points and resources for potential cooperation were discussed and research work was presented.


Franziska Schwabe as studio guest in the local time Ruhr

Schwabe WDR Stress

20.06.2018 – 14.06.2018 - A survey by the school council of the Erich-Fried-Gesamtschule in Herne showed that 90 percent of pupils feel stressed. Dr. Franziska Schwabe answered questions on the subject of school well-being as a studio guest in the local time Ruhr on WDR.


Evaluation of the Scientific Competence Field "School and Educational Research" at IFS


17.05.2018 – Within the framework of the Master Plan Science of the City Dortmund, the scientific competence field "School and Educational Research" at the IFS was evaluated today by the expert Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Manfred Prenzel. With the Science Master Plan, the City of Dortmund has been pursuing the goal since 2013 of working together with all social forces to strengthen science in Dortmund and to let urban society benefit from science.


Education Action Council publishes new report on digital sovereignty and education


16.05.2018 – The Aktionsrat Bildung, a ten-member politically independent panel of experts including Professor Lenzen as chairman, Professor Bos and Professor McElvany, today published the current report Digital Sovereignty and Education. This provides the latest research results, developments and effects of digitization with a view to all educational phases as well as educational phase-specific recommendations for education policy. The results will be presented at the "Germany has a future" event in Munich today.
Photo: iStock


Current research results


New journal article in Unterrichtswissenschaft was published

Drossel, K., Eickelmann, B. & Lorenz, R. (2018). Determinanten der unterrichtlichen Computernutzungshäufigkeit und der medienbezogenen Lehrerkooperation. Eine Analyse auf Grundlage des Länderindikators 'Schule digital'. Unterrichtswissenschaft. doi: 10.1007/s42010-018-0017-9

The implementation of digital media in school teaching and learning processes is becoming increasingly important in the course of the transformation into an information and knowledge society. In order to promote the less pronounced use of digital media by teachers, the computer usage frequency and other factors at the process level have been considered. As a result, it can be seen that there is only a small significant correlation between the frequency of computer use and the media-related cooperation of teachers. Furthermore, the self-assessment of media-related teacher competence proves to be a significant predictor of both factors.


Article in ZDM published

April 2018 – Yang Hansen, K. & Strietholt, R. (2018). Does schooling actually perpetuate educational inequality in mathematics performance? A validity question on the measures of opportunity to learn in PISA. ZDM – The International Journal on Mathematics Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-018-0935-3

The main aim of the study is to test whether schooling actually perpetuates social inequality in achievement, by reanalyzing PISA data. Specifically, the construct validity of the OTL measure in PISA that has been used in previous research is scrutinized. The analyses reveal two latent dimensions of the OTL indicators in PISA, namely an unbiased OTL dimension and a self-concept dimension.


Article has been published in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft

March 2018 – Sander, A., Ohle-Peters, A., Hardy, I. & McElvany, N. (2018). Die Effektivität schriftlicher und kombiniert auditiv-schriftlicher Wortschatzfördermaßnahmen bei Kindern mit nichtdeutscher Herkunftssprache. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11618-018-0815-1

This study from Sander and colleagues examined the potential of implicit vocabulary promotion by including first language, presented in written and combined auditive-written formats, for instructional language. For this purpose, fourth graders were tested in an experimental design. The results indicated no additional benefit of this special promotion strategy, but the children showed increasing vocabulary competences in every experimental condition.


New journal article in Journal of Professional Capital and Community was published

February 2018 - Webs, T. & Holtappels, H.G. (2018). School conditions of different forms of teacher collaboration and their effects on instructional development in schools facing challenging circumstances, Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 3 (1), 39-58. doi: 10.1108/JPCC-03-2017-0006

Teacher collaboration is regarded as a central feature of school quality that promotes students’ learning processes, teachers’ professional development, and school improvement. Although the phenomenon is complex, studies often use global constructs and measures. To meet the research demands, the purpose of this paper is to take a differentiated perspective on teacher collaboration, its particular school conditions and effects on instructional development. The results show that teachers use less resource-intensive forms of collaboration more often and practice more demanding forms of collaboration less frequently. More demanding forms of collaboration not only depend on the working climate but also on individual self-efficacy, institutionalized teams, collaborative and instructional principal leadership and in turn promote the development of interdisciplinary curricula and concepts for individual support.

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Institut für Schulentwicklungsforschung (IFS)
TU Dortmund
Campus Nord (CDI Gebäude)
Vogelpothsweg 78
44227 Dortmund

Tel. +49 (0) 231 / 755-7955
Fax +49 (0) 231 / 755-5517








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