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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.

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Research Area

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

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.

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Research Area

The working group examines opportunities and challenges relating to cultural diversity in schools. One major focus is on the individual learning conditions of children and adolescents with an immigrant background for their school adaptation. We also study how the school context affects students' school adaptation.

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Research Area

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

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Former research area

Educational Research and Quality Assurance

Team Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bos


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!


IFS in conversation with WAZ: School digitization changes the role of teachers


30.07.2020 – In the context of digitization, is it sufficient to provide devices for everyone? Based on that question, PD Dr. Ramona Lorenz talked to the WAZ which other requirements are necessary to integrate digital media into learning processes in a way that promotes learning. In addition to the skills of the students and the teachers in dealing with digital media – and, very important, not only in the technical sense - she also addressed the change of the teachers’ role through digitization.


5th Education Dialogue is postponed to September 2021

2020-07-16 (1)

16.07.2020 – Despite our hopes that the 5th Education Dialogue will take place in September as planned, we have to say with great regret that due to the corona pandemic, we have decided to postpone the event by September 2021. The good news: Professor Anita Schilcher has already confirmed participation with her overview lecture. We will announce the new date shortly. We are already looking forward to your participation and exchange with each other in the coming year!


Completion of the project LeseDif


10.07.2020 – From September 2016 to December 2019, the DFG-funded project LeseDif examined reading skills of elementary school children in the context of social heterogeneity. The meaning of student and instructional aspects for the reading performance of fourth-grade pupils were analyzed on the basis of data from the German sample from PIRLS 2006. The research team put special emphasis on the effects on reading performance of children from families with low socio-economic status and children with a migration background. It was shown, for example, that the medium socioeconomic status was in a positive, the proportion of children with a migration background in a negative connection with medium literacy. In addition, various teaching measures, which can be assigned to the teaching quality dimension of cognitive activation, were positively related to reading literacy. The effects of the composition of the class on reading skills were not conveyed by the measure of cognitive activation. On the one hand, the results of the study contribute to the knowledge gained about the condition factors of reading on the part of pupils and teaching, while on the other hand, they also offer possible starting points for school support in reading-related teaching and targeted interventions for educational practice.


Current research results

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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