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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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1st Consortium Meeting of PIRLS 2021


11.10.2018 – The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021 (PIRLS/IGLU) uses representative data to examine the reading skills of pupils at the end of the fourth primary school year in Germany. Due to the international focus of the project, school performance in Germany can be compared with that in other countries and regions of the world. To prepare the study, the kick-off meeting of the scientific consortium, consisting of Prof. Dr. Nele McElvany as National Research Coordinator and Prof. Dr. Andreas Frey (Goethe University Frankfurt a.M.), Prof. Dr. Frank Goldhammer (DIPF Frankfurt), Prof. Dr. Anita Schilcher (University of Regensburg) and Prof. Dr. Tobias Stubbe (Georg-August-University Göttingen), took place on 11 October 2018. The IFS is looking forward to the cooperation


Alan Koenig, PhD (CRESST/UCLA) visits IFS


10.10.2018 – Alan Koenig, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA in the USA, is visiting again the IFS. The successful cooperation, especially in the area of Serious Educational Games in an academic context and in the project Teach-SEG of AG McElvany, will be continued. We are looking forward to an exciting exchange, welcome!


IFS IN THE MEDIA // What is the best way for children to learn spelling?


21.09.2018 – Nele McElvany was asked for a statement on a spelling project by Tobias Kuhl and Una Röhr-Sendlmeier, which highlighted the spelling learning method "primer approach" as effective in comparison to reading by a writing approach. McElvany emphasized, among other things, that in addition to a suitable didactic method there should also be sufficient time available for learning spelling in children's everyday lives. The discussion about the different methods was taken up in various media, such as SpiegelOnline, the FAZ or ZDF. Photo: iStock.


IFS represented at 51st Congress of DGPs


21.09.2018 – This year IFS-members visited the 51st Congress of German Society of Psychology (DGPs) and present actual research within scientific talks or symposia. The overall congress topic is called “Psychology shapes”.


Current research results


Article in Education and Information Technologies was published

Lorenz, R., Endberg, M. & Bos, W. (2018). Predictors of fostering students’ computer and information literacy – analysis based on a representative sample of secondary school teachers in Germany, Education and Information Technologies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-018-9809-0  

Based on the proficiency levels of students’ computer and information literacy (CIL), and a theoretical approach to media education in school, this paper aims to provide evidence on the relevance of teacher- and school-related factors in the fostering of students’ CIL. On the basis of a representative sample of secondary school teachers in Germany a structural equation model was computed. The results of the SEM indicate teachers’ attitudes towards the use of ICT in instruction, ICT-related collaboration, and sufficient ICT equipment at schools as significant predictors in fostering students’ CIL.


Article in Learning and Individual Differences was published

McElvany, N., Ferdinand, H.,  Gebauer, M. M., Bos, W. , Huelmann, T., Köller, O. & Schöber, C. (2018). Attainment-aspiration gap in students with a migration background: The role of self-efficacy. Learning and Individual Differences, 65, 159–166.

Students with a migrant background often report higher academic aspirations despite lower success in school. This attainment aspiration gap is examined in this article and, among other things, in a sample of seventh-graders it is examined whether the academic self-efficacy or the current attainment of students with a migration background better explains their academic aspiration.


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 was 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.

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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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