Educational Research

The Center for Educational Research (Director: Jürgen Baumert) examined the consequences of institutionalized learning environments for student development. Founded in 1996, the research center existed until 2010, when the director transitioned to emeritus status.

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 its states. Even within a school type, no two schools are alike.

Each school has teachers who differ in their life experience, knowledge, and attitudes. The Center for Educational Research examined how these differences in institutionalized learning environments affect the development of students, who themselves differ in many ways.

In a series of interlinked projects, the Center investigated questions such as the following:
How does the German school system compare internationally (e.g. PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment; TIMMS: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study)? To what extent does the choice of a secondary school type and of a specific school influence the development of academic achievement and motivation? When and how do academic interests become more differentiated (e.g., BIJU: Learning Processes, Educational Careers, and Psychosocial Development in Adolescence and Young Adulthood Study; TOSCA: Transformation of the Secondary School System and Academic Careers)? What makes a good teacher, and how can teacher training be improved (e.g., COACTIV: Professional Competence of Teachers, Cognitively Activating Instruction, and Development of Students' Mathematical Literacy)?

The Center also examined how strongly students themselves influence their academic development by selecting and shaping learning environments. Furthermore, it analyzed the family’s role in student development in terms of its choice of more or less stimulating learning environments for the child. 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 (e.g., LESEN 3-6: The Berlin Longitudinal Reading Study; BEKL: Berlin Parent–Child Reading Programme). In addition, the research project ENTERPRISE (Enhancing KNowledge Transfer and Efficient Reasoning by Practicing Representation In Science Education) examined the promotion of cognitive skills in natural history and mathematics teaching in primary schools.

Research period: 1996–2010


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