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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 University 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 research areas of the IFS are characterised by different focal points within educational and school research:

Research Area

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.

For more information please click here

Research Area

Current research in our lab focuses on three complementary research areas: (1) research on the teaching profession; (2) research on educational trajectories and on educational and occupational choices; and (3) research on the interplay between teacher and student characteristics and possible consequences for the instructional process.

For more information please click here

Research Area

Professor Dr. Michael Becker is head of the working group that deals primarily with individual developmental trajectories and institutional contexts.

For more information please click here

Former research area

Educational Research and Quality Assurance

Team Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bos


Empirical Educational Research with a focus on Social Heterogeneity

Team Prof. Dr. Aileen Edele


School Development and School Efficacy

Team Prof. Dr. Heinz Günter Holtappels


21st volume of the Yearbook of School Development published


17.09.2020 – The 21st volume of the Yearbook of School Development has been published! The nine contributions focus on the main topic "Cooperation and professionalization in the context of school development and teaching" and deal with theoretical approaches and studies on research questions that concern the workplace, the cooperation and the skills of teachers and central problems for the development of Schools and their learning culture. Since 1980, the Yearbook of School Development has been providing information every two years about significant developments in schools and the educational system and thus provides a scientifically sound reference work for all those who deal with questions of the education system, its analysis and design in schools, school administration, science and politics.


International Day of Literacy


08.09.2020 – Every year on September 8th, the UNESCO reminds the importance of strengthening reading and writing skills, because 773 million people around the world still lack basic literacy skills. This year, International Literacy Day is dedicated to teaching and learning during the Corona crisis. After all, reading and writing are irreplaceable for participating in everyday digital life. As a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of AlphaDekade, Professor Nele McElvany points out the great importance of school reading promotion for educational success and social participation and advocates that optimal learning opportunities for different target groups should be created and continuously developed.


Homeschooling during school closings due to Corona - IFS surveys parents and secondary school students nationwide


11.08.2020 – The corona pandemic was and is an extraordinary challenge for all of us, especially in schools. How did parents and their children in grades 5 to 10 experience teaching from home? In what form did the learning take place during this time? What went well and what could be improved? In order to find out and to draw possible conclusions for a sustainable design and further development of schools and lessons, the IFS has developed two nationwide studies. Schoolchildren are welcome to visit https://umfragen.tu-dortmund.de/index.php/416434?lang=de and parents at https://umfragen.tu-dortmund.de/index.php/439945?lang= de participate in the survey. Thanks for your support!


PIRLS meeting: important milestone


07.08.2020 – During the 5th meeting of the National Research Coordinators (NRC), the results of the field tests were evaluated and discussed digitally, in which a total of 68 countries participated with their scientific project management. That was an important date for the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2021. Despite the corona pandemic, it was possible to check the test instruments in the participating countries on a total of almost 13,000 pupils. The instruments were optimized on the basis of the field tests’ results and expanded to include the issue of the effects of COVID-19 on school life. The next steps now involve adapting the finalized, internationally provided test instruments for national use. The course has thus been set for the main survey taking place next year - we are very much looking forward to it.


Current research results


New journal article in Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics published

Trendtel, M. & Robitzsch, A. (2020). A Bayesian item response model for examining item position effects in complex survey data. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, online first, doi.org/10.3102/1076998620931016.

An innovative Item Response Model is presented which allows for more flexible analyses of item position effects (IPE) in educational assessments. Besides a theoretical discussion a Bayesian estimation procedure is developed and implemented. The superiority of this innovative model over conventional models that examine IPE in the context of educational assessments is demonstrated using data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).


Beitrag in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft erschienen

New journal article in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft published

Gebauer, M. M. & McElvany, N. (2020). Einstellungen und Motivation bezogen auf kulturell-ethnisch heterogene Schülerinnen- und Schülergruppen und ihre Bedeutung für differenzielle Instruktion im Unterricht. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, (online first), 1-24. doi: 10.1007/s11618-020-00956-8

The article focuses on the question to what extent aspects of the professional competence of teachers are important for diversity-sensitive teaching. It focuses on teachers’ attitudes and motivational orientation and examines the importance of differential teaching toward cultural-ethnic diversity. The results indicate that attitudes and motivational orientation are of substantial relevance for a diversity-sensitive lesson design. An examination of gender-specific differences for the correlation patterns found shows only minor differences.

Further Information


New journal article in Zeitschrift für pädagogische Psychologie published

Schwabe, F., Schlitter, T., Igler, J., Ohle-Peters, A., Teerling, A., Köller, O. & McElvany, N. (2020). Lesemotivation, Leseselbstkonzept und Leseverhalten am Ende der Grundschulzeit – Wirksamkeit und differenzielle Effekte der schulischen Teilnahme an einer bundesweiten Förderinitiative. Zeitschrift für pädagogische Psychologie, 1, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1024/1010-0652/a000262

The paper investigated whether motivational and behavioral pupil characteristics resulting from school participation in the “Bund-Länder-Initiative Bildung durch Sprache und Schrift (BiSS)” had a positive effect on fourth graders compared to control pupils who did not participate in BiSS. There were no or negative effects for BiSS students on reading motivation, reading self-concept or reading behavior. Compensatory effects for disadvantaged groups of pupils could not be proven either.

Further Information (PDF)


New publisher’s edition Monitoring Student Achievement in the 21st Century - European Policy Perspectives and Assessment Strategies published by Springer

Harju-Luukkainen, H., McElvany, N. & Stang, J. (Eds.). (2020). Monitoring Student Achievement in the 21st Century - European Policy Perspectives and Assessment Strategies. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Educational assessment is of high importance. Therefore, the book examines its importance and gives a broad cross-national perspective on educational assessment in Europe. It draws together leading student assessment academics from across Europe exploring student monitoring policies and practices in a range of countries across 22 chapters.



New journal article in Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie published

Stang, J. & McElvany, N. (2020). Unterschiede in der Wahrnehmung der Qualität des Deutschunterrichts zwischen Grundschülerinnen und Grundschülern. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie. https://doi.org/10.1024/1010-0652/a000275

Students' perceptions of teaching quality vary within classrooms. Several student characteristics are discussed as influencing factors. Furthermore, it is known that student ratings of instructional quality are predictive for their school success. The article tackles the question, whether there are differences between boys and girls in their perception of instructional quality in German classes and whether the assumed relations between gender and perception of instructional quality exist even under control of individual reading literacy.

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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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