Logo: Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung


Ideas, Actors, Knowledge – Comprehensive School in the State of Hesse: the Example of Wetzlar From the 1970s Until Today

The study focuses on investigating developments and changes of pedagogical and school political discourse and practice for the example of the so-called “Flächenversuch” concerning comprehensive schools in the district of Wetzlar in the State of Hesse.

Project description

In 1971, a laboratory situation was created in Wetzlar by invoking a complete transformation of the formerly three-tier secondary school system to a system of integrated comprehensive schools. This situation is exceptionally well suited for an investigation of the relationship between pedagogical and individual School, i.e. cultural traditions on the one hand and external social and political influence factors on the other hand. Furthermore, it is possible to take long-term historical change of internal school communication into perspective.

How did the history of an individual school affect its transformation to a comprehensive school? In how far was it possible to find differences in the pedagogues regarding their assessment and readiness to co-operate in the comprehensive school project, depending on the school type they where coming from? Based on various archival sources, press reports and narrative interviews with parties representing comprehensive school policy in Hesse, school leaders and pedagogues, pedagogical and political networks of actors will be reconstructed. A focus is placed on norms and ideas the relevant actors referred to and the tendencies of a “scientification" and "expertification” of school.

The study is a contemporary historical part of the DIPF research project “Schule im Wandel V“ (school in times of change, SchiWa).


Funded by DIPF 2015

Project management

Sabine Reh

Project team

Monika Mattes

Project details

Completed projects
Project type: Interdepartmental projects
10/2013 - 02/2016
Research topic: School, educational science and educational policy in Germany during the Cold War
Contact: Monika Mattes
last modified Apr 13, 2016