Jump label

Service navigation

Main navigation

You are here:

Main content

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.

For more information please click here

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.

For more information please click here

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.

For more information please click here

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.

For more information please click here

Former research area

Educational Research and Quality Assurance

Team Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bos


International Mother Language Day


21.02.2020 – The International Mother Language Day celebrates and encourages the linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. On occasion of this day, Nele McElvany talked to dpa about the advantages and the disadvantages of being bi- or multilingual. Studies suggest that more and more people in Germany are at least bilingual. Nowadays, every third child in Germany has at least one parent at the end of primary school who does not speak German as a mother language. Those, who grow up in bi- or multilingual families, often develop language competencies at a native level in more than one language. Nele McElvany says, “One can and one should trust children to grow up with two or more languages and to let them find their way. For example, talking Turkish with the parents and talking German at preschool can work out just fine.” The sooner they learn it, the better. However, kindergarten and primary schools should promote German language support.


Dortmund Master Plan Science 2.0: Opening session of the panel “excellence and network”


07.02.2020 – The IFS took part in the opening session of the panel “excellence and network” as part of the Dortmund Master Plan Science 2.0. The scientific competence field (WKF) “Research on Schools and Education”, represented by the IFS, has been rooted in the first Master Plan and will be continued in the second Master Plan as an expert committee evaluated it very positively in 2018. The aim is to further network and to extent the national and international visibility of “Research on Schools and Education”.


Robotic groups in schools stimulate interest in STEM


31.01.2020 – Together with the Center for Higher Education (zhb), the IFS conducted a research concerning the benefits of robotic groups in schools. The study shows a rising interest in STEM-related subjects and topics if pupils participated in such a class in contrast to those who did not. Moreover, researchers pointed out gender differences to the benefit of girls. According to the IFS, the result confirms that the efforts taken to enthuse girls with STEM subjects and topics and to encourage them is important.


Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board


30.01.2020 – Today, the IFS Scientific Advisory Board met. Its main goal is to advise the institute and assist it in fulfilling its tasks and achieving its goal in research, teaching and the promotion of young researchers. During the meeting, the members reflected the institute’s development of the last two years and elicited new perspectives and possibilities of new developments. The IFS thanked Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Ingrid Gogolin for her longtime engagement as chairperson and saw her off in this position. The new chairperson is Prof. Dr. Holger Horz. The IFS thanks all Scientific Advisory Board members very much for their support!


Current research results


New journal article in Social Psychology of Education published

Gebauer, M.M., McElvany, N., Bos, W., Köller, O. & Schöber, C. (2019). Determinants of academic self-efficacy in different socialization contexts: investigating the relationship between students’ academic self-efficacy and its sources in different contexts. Social Psychology of Education, 22(6) doi:10.1007/s11218-019-09535-0

The present study examined the four sources of self-efficacy (mastery experience, vicarious experience, verbal and social persuasion, and physiological state) and how these predict academic self-efficacy over time in 7th-grade students. It simultaneously differentiated three different educationally relevant socialization contexts: family, peers, and school. Although existing measures to assess sources of academic self-efficacy have considered different socialization contexts, they have done this neither systematically nor for all sources. Results of structural equation models showed differential patterns of substantial impact on academic self-efficacy in each socialization context. Over time, the impact decreased when controlling for SES. Results deliver only partial support for Bandura’s theoretical approach and indicate the need to revise social-cognitive theory.



New article in Journal of Educational Psychology published

Lauermann, F., Meißner, A., & Steinmayr, R. (2019). Relative importance of intelligence and ability self-concept in predicting test performance and school grades in the math and language arts domains. Journal of Educational Psychology. (Online first publication). doi: 10.1037/edu0000377

Students’ intelligence and self-concept of ability are critical predictors of school achievement. However, studies focusing on the relative importance of both achievement predictors have produced mixed results. To clarify these inconsistencies, the present study investigated whether the relative predictive power of students’ intelligence and ability self-concept differs depending on the achievement indicator at hand (standardized test performance vs. school grades) and the achievement domain (math vs. language arts).


New journal article in Comparative Education published

Stefan Johansson & Rolf Strietholt (2019): Globalised student achievement? A longitudinal and cross-country analysis of convergence in mathematics performance, Comparative Education, DOI: 10.1080/03050068.2019.1657711

Critics of international assessments hypothesize that PISA, TIMSS and other comparative studies lead to a harmonization of education worldwide. In this article, this hypothesis is tested empirically. The results show cultural and regional differences in student performance profiles. Such differences are stable. Evidence for an international convergence of student performance could not be found. 


New journal article in Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie published

Igler, J., Ohle-Peters, A. & McElvany, N. (2019). Mit den Augen eines Grundschulkindes. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1024/1010-0652/a000243

Students’ ratings are commonly used to assess instructional quality, but studies often show high variances within classes. The newly published study investigates this variance and analyses possible predictors such as students’ cognitive, motivational or emotional prerequisites.


Article published in School Effectiveness and School Improvement

Schmid, C., Trendtel, M., Bruneforth, M., & Hartig, J. (2019). Effectiveness of a governmental action to improve Austrian primary schools – results of multilevel analyses based on repeated cycles of educational standards assessments. School Effectiveness and School Improvement. doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2019.1620294

In 2005, the Austrian government committed all schools to develop school policies supporting the learning of their students. The purpose of the present article is to find evidence for the effectiveness of this governmental action. Analyses are based on data collected by the educational standard assessments including 267 primary schools (2010). Results show that the implementation of schools’ support strategies significantly moderated the increase in mathematical achievement between 2010 and 2013, but not in reading achievement between 2010 and 2015.

Sub content


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








Social Media

ResearchGate Twitter
YouTube LinkedIn