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Development of an achievement test for the assessment of student competencies in Economics - Labour - Technics - Vocational Orientation (WATB)

Increasingly, teaching and learning basic skills in the area of economics and technology as well as vocational orientation have entered secondary school curriculum frameworks. In the context of the structural reform of Berlin‘s secondary school system, the teaching subject of “Wirtschaft-Arbeit-Technik“ (Economics, Labour, Technics; WAT) was introduced at the newly established integrated secondary schools, as a key subject of dual learning. The new teaching subject, WAT substitutes the former subject of “Arbeitslehre“, it is a compulsory subject for all students at integrated secondary schools.

Project description

The BERLIN study assesses effects of the Berlin structural secondary school reform on learning outcomes and educational pathways of students. It also comprises a comparison of student competencies in the old and the new system with regard to vocational guidance subjects. Because it was not possible to draw on existing test instruments, a new achievement test was developed to assess student competencies in the fields of economics, labour, technics and vocational orientation at the end of lower secondary education. Test tasks were primarily developed by respective teachers from Berlin. Framework curricula for the WATB subject as well as its predecessor “Arbeitslehre” provided a curricular basis for test development. The psychometric validity of test tasks was assessed in a pilot study. A revised test version was already implemented in the main assessment of the BERLIN study, involving tenth grade students. A criteria-oriented interpretation of the content of student competencies on the basis of competence levels is envisaged, in analogy to other achievement assessments, e.g. PISA.


 WATB test development is subject to a collaboration with Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development  (MPIB Berlin, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Baumert) and Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN Kiel, Prof. Dr. Olaf Köller).

Project management

Project team

Project details

Current projects
2011 - 2015
External funding
Research topic: Structural changes, educational reforms and conditions of school improvement
Department: Department of Educational Governance
Contact: Marko Neumann
last modified Feb 09, 2015