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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.

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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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Latest IFS research results presented at GEBF 2018


19.02.2018 – Latest IFS research results presented at GEBF 2018
The IFS was represented again this year with numerous contributions at the conference of the Society for Empirical Research in Education (GEBF). Employees from all working groups presented their latest research results in symposia and individual presentations. The conference took place from 15 to 17 February 2018 in Basel and was jointly organized by the School of Education Basel and the University of Basel.


Latest Volumes for the Dortmund Symposium of Empirical Educational Research and IFS- Education dialog published


15.02.2018 – The latest volumes of the third Dortmund Symposium of Empirical Education Research and the second IFS Educational Dialogue have recently been published by Waxmann-Verlag. In view of the Dortmund Symposium, contributions by renowned experts will take up the latest research findings and discussions on the conditions of successful educational careers in social heterogeneity. The topic of digitisation in school education, which is currently the subject of much discussion, will be focussed on in the second volume of the conference series of the IFS Education Dialogue, with special emphasis on the various perspectives from educational practice, administration and research.


Talk by Dr. Franziska Schwabe to the topic “reading and language competences in primary school”


14.02.2018 – At the invitation of Dr. Thomas Riecke-Baulecke, Director of the Institute for Quality Development at Schools in Schleswig-Holstein, Dr. Franziska Schwabe gave an input lecture on the topic of "Reading and Language Skills in Primary Schools" for some 240 school principals from all primary schools and support centres as well as school councillors in Schleswig-Holstein. The event took place on 14 February 2018 in Damp, Schleswig-Holstein.
Foto: iStock


Expert panel discusses compulsory primary school recommendation - Interview with Nele McElvany at WELT


12.02.2018 – In the news portal "Welt" a group of experts from educational research, practice and politics discussed the abolition of mandatory primary school recommendations in many countries. According to McElvany, the fact that "pupils from less educated classes at secondary schools and secondary schools are underrepresented" can be defused "when teachers decide on the secondary school." Discussions were also held on the current situation of attending different types of secondary schools with regard to equal opportunities.
Foto: iStock


Current research results


The results from PIRLS 2016 was published 

December 2017 - Hußmann, A., Wendt, H., Bos, W., Bremerich-Vos, A., Kasper, D., Lankes, E.-M. et al. (Hrsg.). (2017). IGLU 2016. Lesekompetenzen von Grundschulkindern in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich. Münster: Waxmann. 

In 2016 Germany participated for the fourth time in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS 2016). The results from PIRLS 2016 conducted at the Center for Research on Education and School Development have been published at Waxmann (Link wie oben). Further information: IGLU/PIRLS 2016 (Project webpage) http://www.ifs.tu-dortmund.de/cms/en/research/Research-Projects/IGLU_PIRLS-2016.html


New journal article in British Journal of Educational Psychology was published

November 2017 - Becker, M. & McElvany, N. (2017). The interplay of gender and social background: a longitudinal study of interaction effects in reading attitudes and behavior. British Journal of Educational Psychology. doi:10.1111/bjep.12199

Drawing on expectancy-value theory, this study analysed the development of disparities in students’ reading-related self-concept, intrinsic motivation, and behaviour, as they relate to differences in gender and socio-economic family background. Authors found evidence of increasing gender differences, which were also moderated by the socio-economic status (SES) of parents.

Cover Länderindikator 2017

New edited volume „Schule digital - Der Länderindikator 2017" published

November 2017 - Ramona Lorenz,  Wilfried Bos,  Manuela Endberg,  Birgit Eickelmann,  Silke Grafe,  Jan Vahrenhold (Hrsg.). Schule digital – der Länderindikator 2017. Schulische Medienbildung in der Sekundarstufe I mit besonderem Fokus auf MINT-Fächer im Bundesländervergle. Münster: Waxmann.

The Länderindikator 2017, funded by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung, presents for the third time representative findings about the integration and use of digital media in lower secondary schools in Germany. Information about ICT equipment at schools, the use of ICT in classroom, fostering students’ media literacy and ICT-related teacher competencies are provided as a comparison between the German federal states as well as in a trend since 2015. Furthermore, a focus on using ICT in STEM education in comparison to the other subjects is provided.

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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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