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

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

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

For more information please click here

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.

For more information please click here

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


PIRLS 2021: Almost 400 elementary schools participated


21.07.2021 – How well can fourth graders in Germany read and understand texts? The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021, or PIRLS for short, which takes place every five years, investigates this and similar questions. Over the past three months, fourth-graders at nearly 400 elementary and special schools in all 16 German states have been examined and their teachers, school administrators and parents surveyed. The research team is very pleased that the participants were able to take part this year despite the difficult conditions under the Corona pandemic, as this provides an important empirical data basis for determining the reading performance of elementary school students as well as for collecting information on the framework conditions for learning to read and on instruction during the Corona pandemic. The results of PIRLS 2021 will be published at the end of 2022.



Conclusion of IFS lecture series with Dr. Markus Tausendpfund


16.07.2021 – Dr. Markus Tausendpfund from the FernUniversität in Hagen was a virtual guest at the last substantive session of the IFS Lecture Series on "Civic Literacy as a Subject Area of Empirical Educational Research". In his lecture "Political Knowledge in Germany: Level, Determinants and Consequences" he discussed, among other things, possible conditioning factors of political knowledge on the basis of data from the General Population Survey of the Social Sciences (ALLBUS). The results show that especially education and political interest are positively related to the political knowledge of the respondents. Many thanks for the very exciting lecture and the subsequent discussion!

© Bernhard Kreutzer


July 8: IFS Virtual Keynote Series on “Civic Literacy”


05.07.2021 – The last of the three IFS Virtual Keynote Series will begin on July 8 at 2:15 pm. Internationally renowned experts have been recruited to speak on the main topic of "Civic Literacy". Asst. Professor Frank Reichert from the University of Hong Kong will discuss similarities and differences in civic education in East Asian countries in his lecture on "Civic Education in East Asia". Asst. Professor Anke Munniksma from the University of Amsterdam focuses in her presentation on "Inequality in Citizenship Competences: Citizenship Education and Policy in the Netherlands" on the extent to which the Dutch principle of transition to secondary school, together with a high degree of school autonomy, can be related to students' policy competences. Assoc. Professor Idunn Seland and Research Professor Lihong Huang from Oslo Metropolitan University will conclude the lecture series with their presentation on "The Relationship between Civic Literacy and Basic Literacy: Reflections on ICCS 2016 Results from Norway", in which they will present results from Norway from the ICCS 2016 study. We look forward to an interesting afternoon!


IFS lecture series with Thomas Krüger, President of bpb


02.07.2021 – This week, Thomas Krüger, who has been President of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) since 2000, was a virtual guest at the IFS Ring Lecture "Civic Literacy as a Topic Area of Empirical Educational Research". In his lecture on the topic "The importance of (school) civic education in a seemingly polarizing society - What can schools do to strengthen tomorrow's democracy today?", he spoke about the importance and possibilities of school and extracurricular civic education against the background of the political and social challenges of recent years. Many thanks for the interesting lecture and a lively discussion!

© Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb


Current research results


New journal article in Unterrichtswissenschaft published

Lepper, C., Stang, J. & McElvany, N. (2021). Bedeutung der wahrgenommenen Motivierungsqualität für intrinsische Motivation und Selbstkonzept von Grundschulkindern [Importance of perceived motivational support for intrinsic motivation and self-concept of elementary students]. Unterrichtswissenschaft. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42010-021-00121-y

The study examined whether 4th grade students’ perception of motivational support in mathematics instruction was related to intrinsic motivation and ability self-concept in math. Thereby, students’ math grade was taken into account as a motivational determinant and the feeling of competence was considered as a mediator.

The results showed that students’ perceived motivational quality in math was positively associated with both motivational variables. The effects on ability self-concept were mediated by an increased feeling of competence in class. Thus, motivational support was a significant factor for students’ motivational variables.

Further information (German)


New journal article in Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie published

Stang, J., König, S. & McElvany, N. (2021). Implizite Einstellungen von Kindern im Grundschulalter gegenüber Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie. 1-14. doi: 10.1024/1010-0652/a000320

What attitudes do primary school children have toward people with a migration background? This question was examined in the context of the article. In addition, it was examined whether elementary school children with a Turkish and without a migration background differ in their attitudes. Furthermore, it was analyzed whether, for example, identification with the host culture and culture of origin were related to implicit attitudes. Data from 240 fourth graders formed the basis of the data. An implicit association test was used to measure implicit attitudes.


New journal article in Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften published

Ohle-Peters, A., Igler, J., Schlitter, T., Teerling, A., Köller, O. & McElvany, N. (2021). Unterrichtsqualität und intrinsische Lesemotivation im Kontext der Bund-Länder-Initiative „Bildung durch Sprache und Schrift“ (BiSS). Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11618-021-01022-7

The statewide initiative “Education through Language and Writing” (BiSS) focussed (i.a.) on promoting students’ reading comprehension. This longitudinal study with 59 classes investigated a) relations between BiSS-participation and instructional quality, and b) relations between instructional quality and students’ intrinsic reading motivation. Multilevel analyses revealed a small positive effect of BiSS-participation on differentiation in reading instruction and relations between instructional quality and students’ intrinsic reading motivation.

Reading Research Quarterly

New journal article in Reading Research Quarterly published

Lepper, C., Stang, J. & McElvany, N. (2021). Gender Differences in Text-Based Interest: Text Characteristics as Underlying Variables. Reading Research Quarterly. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/rrq.420

The study investigates to what extent different text characteristics (text genre, gender-typed topic, gender of the main characters) and students’ gender are systematically related to elementary students’ text-based interest. Using experimentally varied texts, significant differences in students’ text-based interests were found depending on the text genre and topic of the text. Moreover, gender disparities based on the text topic and protagonists’ gender were significant. The results underscore the relevance of text- and person-related characteristics for elementary students’ interest in texts.

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