In our research we focus on the individual, social and institutional determinants of learning processes. Some of our key research questions include:

  • Does the performance of students with similar ability levels develop differently across different school forms?
  • How can reading achievement, interest and self-concept of students be enhanced?
  • Do A-level results differ between the (federal) states of Germany? Do they predict academic success in higher education and occupational domains?
  • How can contextual effects on adolescent and young adult development be modeled effectively with statistical methods?
  • What is the role of modern knowledge media in teaching and learning?
  • In what ways are the personalities of young people shaped by their experience at school and university?
Our main research areas

Research in the MINT disciplines:

  • Who becomes a natural scientist?
  • Can the interest in MINT disciplines be increased?
  • What are the effects of laboratories for pupils (“Schülerlabore”)?

Educational effectiveness:

  • What are the origins of social disparities in education?
  • Do schools constitute differential development environments?
  • Do universities constitute differential development environments?

Methodological studies:

  • Multi-level modeling
  • Psychometric latent variable models
  • Methods of causal inference

Academic self-concepts and values as motivators in the context of academic achievement:

  • e.g. Big-fish-little-pond effects in the formation of academic self-concepts and values

Individuals, situations and their interaction: Research in the field of "personality:"

  • What influence do contextual factors have on personality development?
  • Of what significance is the interaction of personality and contextual factors for the prediction of behavior
  • What is the general structure of human personality?

Quality of teaching and professional competence of teachers:

  • How can the quality of teaching be accurately assessed?
  • Which features of teaching determine educational success?
  • What role does the professional competence of teachers play for the quality of teaching?


We take an evidence-based, integrated approach to research with a focus on international exchange. We believe that the quality of educational processes and policies needs to be validated empirically. In all our studies, we utilize the most reliable and valid statistical methods in educational research and regularly present our findings to the international community through leading educational and psychological conferences and journals. Furthermore, we aim to extend our commitment to the international research community via collaboration and partnership, utilizing a cross-disciplinary approach. Thus we seek to work with researchers and colleagues in psychology and educational sciences as well as in mathematics, linguistics, statistics, economics and sports science. Given that empirical research is critical to educational systems world-wide, we believe collaboration is of central importance.