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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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Analyzing technical and pedagogical support in secondary schools in Germany


16.04.2018 – The study funded by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung aims at analyzing how the technical and pedagogical support in schools currently is and prospectively should be implemented in secondary schools in Germany. Based on survey data with 600 teachers who already participated in the representative study Schule digital – der Länderindikator 2017 and in-depth expert interviews a support profile will be compiled which shall serve as a standard for ensuring and further developing ICT-related efforts in schools.


New study funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG): Development of pedagogical media competence of pre-service teachers in the context of integrating ICT in education


13.04.2018 – Integrating ICT in education successfully requires teachers who are competent in using ICT in instruction. With the study at hand, a pre-service teacher course is developed including theoretical, empirical and practical approaches in order to analyze how the differentiated facets of pedagogical media competence can be fostered in teacher education. The study under responsibility of Dr. Ramona Lorenz started in April 2018 and ends in March 2019.
Picture: iStock


IGLU 2021 - IFS again responsible for national participation

IGLU 2021

10.04.2018 – IFS will be in charge of Germany’s participation in the 2021 cycle of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS; national: IGLU). New features in this cycle will be the so-called bridging study, which will accompany the transition to digital survey, a module for reading in online environments and a national school panel.
picture: iStock


Article of the year in Language Learning


14.03.2018 – The article Form early Starters to late finishers? A longitudinal study of early foreign language learning in School wirtten by Michael Schurig and colleagues, which has been written in cooperation between the Chair of the Didactic of the English Language of the Ruhr-University Bochum and the IFS and published within Language Learning, has been chosen as the Journals Article of the year 2017. Along with this award Wiley publishers provide open-access for several months.


Current research results

Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift Bild

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.

Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift Bild

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.


The results from PIRLS 2016 was published 

December 2017 - Hußmann, A., Wendt, H., Bos, W., Bremerich-Vos, A., Kasper, D., Lankes, E.-M. et al. (Hrsg.). (2017). IGLU 2016. Lesekompetenzen von Grundschulkindern in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich. Münster: Waxmann. 

In 2016 Germany participated for the fourth time in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2016). The results from PIRLS 2016 conducted at the Center for Research on Education and School Development have been published at Waxmann (Link wie oben). Further information: IGLU/PIRLS 2016 (Project webpage) http://www.ifs.tu-dortmund.de/cms/en/research/Research-Projects/IGLU_PIRLS-2016.html

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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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