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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. 

Research of empirical school development and educational science at the IFS is conducted in interdisciplinary teams. Educational, psychological, and sociological theories are developed, applied to core themes of education research and empirically tested. Depending on the research project a wide range of research designs (e.g., longitudinal, large-scale, intervention), survey methods (including questionnaires, interviews, competence tests, and videography), and quantitative and qualitative methods of analyzes are utilized.  

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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The IFS is actively participating in the broader research community through publications, lectures, conference participation, and through interdisciplinary collaborative research projects at the national and international levels. In addition, the IFS maintains close contact with schools, and regional and national educational administration. This combination of knowledge transfer from and into educational practice and academic exchange with national and international research partners is a particular strength of the IFS. 


BE WELL at School – Survey with over 1.000 students


18.09.2017 – In the context of the research project BE WELL at School (BELLS) IFS-researcher, in cooperation with the Walnut Valley Unified School District and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matt Witmer, explored high school students’ perceptions of their school environment and their feelings of academic well-being. Well-being and motivation are core resources for academic learning and lifelong satisfaction. The study is based on an online survey. We are looking forward to the exiting results.


Promoting Intercultural Dialog – Theater Pedagogy meets Empirical Educational Research


31.07.2017 – Chen Alon, a co-founder of “Combatants for Peace” and nominee of nobel peace prize in 2017, visited the IFS from 24th till 27th of July 2017. He was a visitor in the workshop Inter-Cultural Dialogue Through Theatre for students of TU Dortmund, which was given by Nele Mc Elvany and dealt with intercultural dialog, power structures, and conflict confrontation. Students had the opportunity to get to know possible application strategies of these technics in school contexts. Furthermore, he held a talk to the topic of “Inter-Cultural dialogue through theatre - Theories and methods of intercultural education in diverse classrooms“.


Teacher Training Center from Shanghai at the IFS


27.07.2017 – On July 19, the IFS welcomed Ms. Hua from the Teacher Training Center in Shanghai, China. Commonalities and perspectives for potential cooperation were explored in joint discussions. The practical orientated Teacher Training Center in Shanghai strives to broaden his international network and to intensify his international exchange to evaluate and develop his activities on a scientific basis.


Surveys in the projects FALKE and BiSS EvalLesen successfully completed


18.07.2017 – Over the past few weeks, the teams of the projects FALKE and BiSS EvalLesen have successfully assessed students, parents, teachers, and primary school teachers in regard to students’ reading competencies and their corresponding context factors. In addition to the paper based questionnaire survey, FALKE also used tablets as a survey medium. The German-wide surveys could only be carried out with the support of many schools and families - Thanks to all involved!


Current research results


2. volume of „Dortmunder Symposium der Empirischen Bildungsforschung“ published

04.04.2017 - The second volume of this book series focusses on conditions of successful learning-and educational processes. Renowned experts present current research from educational, psychological and didactic perspectives and discuss implications for further research in empirical educational studies. This book series presents results from the annual conference “Dortmunder Symposium der Empirischen Bildungsforschung” and is published by Waxmann.

Dortmunder Symposium der Empirischen Bildungsforschung


New edited volume on integration of refugee minors

22.03.2017 - The edited volume Settling in the Schools – Chances and Challenges during the Integration Process of Refugee Minors presents a collection of contributions from scientists and practitioners on the integration of refugee minors in the German school system, dealing with diverse topics such as integration in the classroom, fostering of language acquisition and support for traumatized children. In addition, experts from education administration, politics, research and practice give their assessment of the current situation.

Ankommen in der Schule


New practical handbook „Integration of Newly Immigrated Children and Adolescents without Knowledge of German. Opportunities, Challenges and Perspectives“ published

07.12.2016 - The practical handbook reports on experiences and conditions of successful dealing with immigrated pupils of 13 Ganz In-schools, who have no knowledge of German. Organizational and legal framework conditions are discussed as well as possible obstacles. This practical handbook provides hints and comments of teachers concerning school organization, teaching and social integration. These practical solutions are developed on the basis of practice and can function as tools in further practice.

The handbook is available for free download here

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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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