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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

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

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

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Research Area

Deputy Professor PD Dr. Gaspard deals with heterogeneity in the development of learning and achievement motivation in school contexts as well as factors influencing this development.

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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


Nele McElvany in Podcast „Steingarts Morning Briefing“

Nele McElvany

25.11.2020 – Nele McElvany spoke with Gabor Steingart in his podcast "Steingarts Monring Briefing" about the current situation in educational institutions. The topics covered included digital media, teachers and the school of the future. He said that school is much more than just practicing cognitive skills - and for that, social interaction is always necessary.


Survey start in several projects


06.11.2020 – Several projects at the IFS have started (again) with their surveys. In the DFG-funded project Stereotype Threat, young people in the 9th grade are questioned in order to examine the effect of stereotypes on learning, and to identify moderating and mediating factors of the effect. In the BMBF-funded project LL Digital, the effects of digital media on the linguistic competence of primary school students in learning and performance situations are assessed. The study Civic Literacy in Adolescence aims to determine how young people in grades 7 to 9 are able to participate in politics and society. We look forward to exciting surveys!


Young scientists at IFS - start of the basic curriculum


04.11.2020 – Every year in the winter semester, the basic curriculum offers exciting insights into the working environment of science for doctoral students in the initial phase as well as for interested master students. Guest lecturers from various fields work with the participants to develop useful techniques and skills for their future academic careers and deal with central contents of school and educational research. This includes, for example, the topics of scientific conferences, scientific lectures and publications, research data management and school development research. A successful start for all new doctoral students!


Hanna Gaspard is deputy professor for Empirical Educational Research with a focus on Social Heterogeneity

Hanna Gaspard

02.11.2020 – On November 1, 2020, PD Dr. Hanna Gaspard has taken over the professorship for Empirical Educational Research with a Focus on Social Heterogeneity. Hanna Gaspard was previously Senior Researcher and leader of the Junior Research Group at Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology at the University of Tübingen. Her research interests include diagnostics of learning and achievement motivation, heterogeneity in the development of learning and achievement motivation in the school context and factors influencing this development, as well as educational-psychological interventions to promote motivation. In addition, she is very experienced in the design and implementation of large-scale intervention studies in the school context. The IFS warmly welcomes Hanna Gaspard and looks forward to working and developing together!


Current research results

Lernende Schule_Publ.Meldung_Lorenz

New booklet published in Die Lernende Schule

Lorenz, R. & Klinger, U. (Hrsg.). (2020). Unterricht digital. Lernende Schule. Heft 91.

For the journal “Lernende Schule”, which is aimed at school practice, PD Dr. Ramona Lorenz was co-editor of the newly published booklet "Teaching digital". It combines considerations on how teaching can be advanced digitally and what schools can learn from the corona pandemic. The booklet includes critically reflected starting points that offer teachers and school management options.

Further Information


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)

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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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