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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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Manuela Endberg successfully defended her doctoral Thesis


19.07.2018 – Manuela Endberg, research fellow in the working group of Professor Bos, successfully defended her doctoral Thesis which deals with “Professional competence of teachers with regard to the use of digital media in class”. Congratulations!


TU Dortmund University Council votes 2018 – IFS represented in Senate and Faculty Council

Gremienwahl an der TU Dortmund_englisch

18.07.2018 – Professor Nele McElvany was elected as a member of the Senate of TU Dortmund University and Council of the Faculty Educational Science, Psychology and Sociology. Furthermore from the IFS Professor Heinz Günter Holtappels (group of professors), Karin Lossen and Dr. Andreas Sander (group of research associates) as well as Dr. Michael Männel (group of administrative staff) were voted as alternates of the Faculty Council. Congratulations to all elected representatives and a successful term!


Martin Burghoff – Docotral Theses successfully defended


18.07.2018 – Martin Burghoff, research fellow in the working group of Professor Bos, defended successfully his doctoral Thesis in the field educational sciences today. His doctoral Thesis dealt with the topic “anchoring digital media at all-day schools – A theoretical framing and empirical results”. Congratulations!


Seminar Inter-Cultural Dialogue through Theatre bridges the gap between theatre work and dealing with migration-related heterogeneity in the school context


18.07.2018 – In cooperation with Dr. Chen Alon of Tel Aviv University, Prof. Dr. Nele McElvany once again offers the innovative teaching format Inter-Cultural Dialogue through Theatre. In this seminar new methods and tools are given to preservice teachers to successfully deal with migration-related heterogeneity in the school context within the framework of the theory model Polarized Theatre of the Oppressed. Dr. Chen Alon is co-founder of the internationally known group Combatants of Peace, which uses alternative forms of communication to break down hardened patterns of thought and promote peaceful coexistence.


Current research results



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.


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.

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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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