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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.

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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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. 


Specialist conference on ‚Quality and learning effectiveness of all-day schools‘ on December 7th, 2017


21.11.2017 – The specialist conference is dedicated to the main issue of ‘interventions and possibilities for design regarding curriculum-related activities in all-day programs’. It will be framed by an overview on latest developments, background information and perspectives as well as a panel discussion on rudiments of educational policy, practice and research.
More information is provided in the attached program.

For easy scheduling please use the online registration until November 29th, 2017: https://goo.gl/vTb4cX


IFS Advisory Board Meeting 2017


17.11.2017 – The Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute, consisting of Professor Horz, Professor Solga, Professor Gogolin, Professor Husfeldt and Professor Terhart, met at the 2017 plenary session to shed light on IFS developments over the past two years and, in its advisory capacity, presented perspectives and opportunities for further development to determine.


Professor McElvany at WDR5 Funkhausgespräch


16.11.2017 – Reading, writing, arithmetic - cultural techniques in danger? Renowned representatives of science (Prof. McElvany), politics (State Secretary Richter, FDP), practice (teacher Lichtenberg) and journalism (journalist Himmelrath) discussed this topic on 16 November 2017. "School and parents need to collaborate on reading socialization, taking into account different interests of children," said Nele McElvany, who highlighted the importance of linking child-friendly reading socialization, parental support, and reading-learning.


Adjuncted Professor Heidi Harju-Luukkainen (UCLA) visited IFS

Heidi und Nele

13.11.2017 – Professor Heidi Harju Luukkainen (UCLA, USA) held a public lecture on the topic The Finnish Education System and International assessments as part of their scientific residency at the IFS. In her research she focuses on student assessment and justice in education with international expertise, which has developed numerous links for intensive exchange and cooperation projects.


Current research results


New journal article in Psychology in education and teaching was published

September 2017 - Gebauer, M. M. & McElvany, N. (2017). Zur Bedeutsamkeit unterrichtsbezogener heterogenitätsspezifischer Einstellungen angehender Lehrkräfte für zukünftiges Unterrichtsverhalten. Psychologie in Erziehung und Unterricht, 64 (3), 163–180.

In this article, the authors examine, whether future teachers have heterogenic-specific attitudes and to what extent these are predictive for intended teaching behavior. The results are discussed with regard to their relevance for teaching praxis and future research. The article was published in the journal Psychologie in Erziehung und Unterricht (PEU, [Psychology in education and teaching]).


New edited volume „Development and quality of the school system - New empirical findings and developmental tendencies" was published

June 2017 - Holtappels, H. G. (Eds.): Development and quality of the school system. New empirical findings and developmental tendencies. Münster: Waxmann.

This book deals with current problems and developmental tendencies in the school system and presents, on the one hand, new research results of well-known authors, on the other hand, it provides analyzes and balances concerning the system quality on the basis of previous findings. The articles present important research results from German and international research on questions referring to the school system, based on central theoretical approaches. So the book offers valuable insights with impulses for further theory development and research.


New journal article in Zeitschrift für Lernforschung Unterrichtswissenschaft was published

April 2017- Porsch, R. & Wendt, H. (2017). Teaching Mathematics and Teachers´ Major Field of Studies: Is There an Impact on Math Achievement of Primary School Students? Results From TIMSS 2011. Unterrichtswissenschaft. 45 (2). 115-135.

Professional competences of teachers are essential for effective teaching and therefore a critical condition for successful learning of students. A central question is to what extent the formal qualification of teachers can explain differences in students´ proficiency. This paper summarizes national and international research on the effects of the qualification of teachers and discusses the differences between methodological approaches of quantitative studies. To answer the question of whether and to what extent the formal qualification of primary school teachers in Germany teaching mathematics in class 4 has an impact on students´ proficiency in mathematics data from TIMSS 2011 (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) is analyzed.

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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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