The Center of Educational Research existed from 1996 until July 2010, when Prof. Jürgen Baumert has become Director emeritus.
Schools are learning environments that have a lasting influence on student development. These learning environments differ considerably, both across countries and within Germany — the number of secondary school types available ranges from two to five across the Länder. Even within a school type, no one school is like another; each school has teachers with different knowledge, attitudes, and experience of life. The Center for Educational Research investigated how these differences in institutionalized learning environments affect the development of students, who themselves differ in many important ways.
In a program of interlinked projects, the center investigated questions such as the following: To what extent does the choice of a secondary school type and a specific school influence the development of academic achievement and motivation? When and how do academic interests become more defined? What makes a good teacher, and how can teacher training be improved? We also examine how strongly students themselves influence their academic development by selecting and shaping learning environments.
Furthermore, the family’s role in student development in terms of the stimulation provided by the learning environments chosen has been analyzed. The center was also interested in developing effective programs to support children and adolescents from less educationally privileged backgrounds. Studies on the promotion of language and literacy were a primary focus of this work.