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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 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. 

Research projects 

Cultural diversity approaches

The project studies how schools can manage and accommodate cultural diversity. Specifically, we examine how diversity approaches focusing on equality, pluralism or assimilation affect majority and minority students’ outcomes in Germany and in Belgium and how the different approaches interact with other factors at student, teacher, classroom and school levels.

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EkK Music

Aim of the project is the development and validation of a test to measure creative competence in the context of music in grades 5 and 6. This is connected with the question whether creative processes in the field of music can be described as competences.

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The project addresses the question of how the competence development of students of an education program can be effectively supported by a digital tool for recording and promoting Classroom Management.

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The European Training Network OCCAM is an international research project that provides junior scientists with an international, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary research and training environment. The research questions encompass the fields of the integrity of educational measures, educational settings and processes, as well as governance of resources and decision making in the area of education.

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The aim of the project is the development of an adaptive, computer-based testing process for the measurement of readings skills and competencies of elementary grade students. Of particular importance in the instrument design is test fairness across all student groups.

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A research project which is conducted by the Institute for Research on Education and School Development and the RAG Foundation in co-operation with the Ministry for Schools and Education of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. The project aims at supporting and promoting underprivileged students at schools in challenging circumstances in former mining areas by providing educational opportunities in the domains of language learning and self-regulation.

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The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021 (PIRLS/IGLU 2021) examines the reading competence of primary school pupils at the end of grade 4. Due to the layout of the study, the pupils’ competences can be compared to those from different countries and parts of the world. IGLU 2021 provides important knowledge in the context of international and national education monitoring.

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The study focuses on the attitudes and motivation of prospective teachers in terms of managing cultural, social, and performance heterogeneity in the classroom. Approaches are divided into cognitive, affective and behavioral components, and are understood as belonging to a teacher’s professional competence.

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LL digital

The Project LL digital addresses the effects of digital media on the language competences of grade school students in learn and test situations.

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Focusing reading literacy LeseDif analyses to what extent strengths and weaknesses of children who are socially disadvantaged and those with migration backgrounds are being influenced by (a) motivational characteristics of the learners and (b) quantitative and qualitative characteristics of instruction.

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The National Education Panel Study analyzes educational processes in Germany. The IFS is responsible for the fourth phase (the transition from lower to upper secondary school) of NEPS.

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StEG is a nationwide research program investigating the quantitative and qualitative development of all-day education and care in Germany. At the Dortmund location, the effects of extra-curricular learning arrangements that promote reading comprehension are studied in all-day schools as part of an intervention study.

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The project investigates the effect of stereotypes on vocabulary acquisition of learners in different age groups.

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Teach SEG

Effective teacher education and assessment are key tasks for all modern societies. By using the digital revolution for teacher education and assessment, the innovative project proposed will significantly advance teacher training and help improve classroom instruction.

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TIMSS is an international comparative school assessment of mathematics and science competencies, comparing elementary school students’ competencies internationally and describing long-term trends in the German and other educational systems. Focus of the joint research project at IFS is the assessment of instructional quality in fourth grade.

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Short film: International comparative school performance studies at IFS

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