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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.

For more information please click here

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.

For more information please click here

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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Blog Post on Differences in Reading between Girls and Boys


09.01.2019 – A post on the gender gap in reading titled „Girls read differently – and so do boys“ was published on the scientific blog BOLD authored by Franziska Schwabe. The post focusses the question, if society needs to worry about boys’ reading competence. A brief overview of empirical research is provided. Photo: iStock


Karin Lossen – Doctoral thesis successfully defended

Karin Lossen

21.12.2018 – Karin Lossen, research fellow in the working group of Professor Holtappels successfully defended her doctoral thesis in the field of educational sciences today. Her doctoral thesis dealt with “School Quality in All-day Schools – Quality of Design and Results”.


Ramona Lorenz as conversation guest at Deutschlandfunk


01.12.2018 – The forthcoming DigitalPact will provide investment funds for digitisation in schools. PD Dr. Ramona Lorenz in "Campus & Karriere" on Deutschlandfunk discusses the question of whether schools are ready for digitisation and what significance digital media have in teaching. Photo: iStock


3rd Dortmund Science Conference focuses on the scientific competence field Research on Schools and Education

Dritte Dortmunder Wissenschaftskonferenz_Roland Gorecki03

26.11.2018 – The manifold activities within the scope of the scientific competence field Research on Schools and Education were presented by IFS’s managing director Prof. Dr. Nele McElvany at the 3rd Dortmund Science Conference. Insight was provided by three short talks on central main topics of the research done on schools and education as well as a poster exhibition on current educational projects. The panel members included representatives from science, i.e. Prof Dr. Heinz Günter Holtappels, and practice, and they discussed the possible implementation of scientific findings into everyday school life. Furthermore, at this year’s Dortmund Science Conference the evaluation results of the Dortmund Master Plan Science were presented by Prof Dr. Dr. h.c. Manfred Prenzel, chairman of the external board of experts. Photo: Roland Gorecki


Current research results


Article in School Effectiveness and School Improvement was published

Steinmann, I., Strietholt, R. & Caro, D. (2018). Participation in Extracurricular Activities and Student Achievement: Evidence from German All-Day Schools. School Effectiveness and School Improvement. doi 10.1080/09243453.2018.1540435

The present study investigates the effects of participation in aca-demic extracurricular activities on student achievement in mathe-matics and reading in the course of secondary schooling. We use 2 samples of nonmandatory all-day schools that are part of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): N = 1,131 fifth graders at 43 schools were followed until Grade 7 and N = 1,545 seventh graders at 64 schools until Grade 9. We compare students partici-pating in all-day schools’ extracurricular activities homework sup-port, remedial education, and subject-specific programs to nonparticipating students. After controlling for prior achievement and further student background variables as well as estimating school fixed effects, we find no effects of participation in extra-curricular activities on student achievement for both samples and both outcomes. The study contributes to the evidence base on the effects of extracurricular activities. We discuss the findings in light of the international discourse on effective extracurricular activities.


Article in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften was published

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, 21(5), 951–971. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11618-018-0815-1

The article investigates the potential of implicit language promotion, presented in written and combined auditory-written formats. Three experimental groups of 4th graders in elementary schools have been compared. The first group read the intervention texts two times in German, second group read texts in Turkish and afterwards in German and third group listened to texts in Turkish first and read them in German afterwards. Results do not support advantages for the combined auditory-written form including the heritage language.


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.

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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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