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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 was founded in 1973 as the "Center for School Development Research Education Research and Development" by the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia and was affiliated with the former Pedagogical University of Dortmund. It quickly developed into a recognized academic institution of national importance, and a pioneer in education research, school development, as well as the structural and quantitative trends in education. The founder and former director of the IFS was Prof. em. Dr. Hans Günter Rolff.  From 2005-2014 the Institute was directed by Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bos. As of 2015 the IFS is directed by Prof. Dr. Nele McElvany. 

Research of empirical school development and educational science at the IFS is conducted in interdisciplinary teams. Educational, psychological, and sociological theories are developed, applied to core themes of education research and empirically tested. Depending on the research project a wide range of research designs (e.g., longitudinal, large-scale, intervention), survey methods (including questionnaires, interviews, competence tests, and videography), and quantitative and qualitative methods of analyzes are utilized.  

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

The IFS is actively participating in the broader research community through publications, lectures, conference participation, and through interdisciplinary collaborative research projects at the national and international levels. In addition, the IFS maintains close contact with schools, and regional and national educational administration. This combination of knowledge transfer from and into educational practice and academic exchange with national and international research partners is a particular strength of the IFS. 


New practical handbook „Integration of Newly Immigrated Children and Adolescents without Knowledge of German. Opportunities, Challenges and Perspectives“ published


07.12.2016 – The practical handbook reports on experiences and conditions of successful dealing with immigrated pupils of 13 Ganz In-schools, who have no knowledge of German. Organizational and legal framework conditions are discussed as well as possible obstacles. This practical handbook provides hints and comments of teachers concerning school organization, teaching and social integration. These practical solutions are developed on the basis of practice and can function as tools in further practice.


Results from TIMSS 2015 published


23.11.2016 – In 2015 Germany participated for the third time in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS 2015). The results from TIMSS 2015 have been published at a press conference in Berlin at 11 a.m. on November 29, 2016. Materials for this press conference and further information on the study are available from the following website:


Länderindikator 2016 has been published


23.11.2016 – The representative study Länderindikator 2016 provides the second cycle of findings on media education in the German school system. This educational monitoring represents the status quo of the implementation of digital media in teaching and learning processes in schools for all 16 federal states, which allows for specific impetus for school development in each state. Considering the domains of schools’ equipment with digital media, instructional use of digital media as well as fostering students’ media-related competencies, developments since the Länderindikator 2015 can be revealed. Moreover, the Länderindikator 2016 introduces teachers’ media-related competencies as a new focus.


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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