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Personality and Learning Development of Primary School Children

The study investigates the development of personality and learning in primary school children. Progress in learning is assessed for pupils at "BIP creativity schools" in the subjects of mathematics and German, as well as personality traits of creativity, motivation and self-concept.

Project description

The study applies a combined cross-section and longitudinal design to assessing the developments of primary school children. In particular, it focuses on analysing the success of the advancement measures provided by BIP creativity schools (BIP is the acronym for giftedness, intelligence and personality, Begabung, Intelligenz und Persönlichkeit). These freelance (independent) school types, which are mainly offered at the primary school level, are oriented towards a comprehensive advancement of their pupils’ personalities.

The study assessed the achievements of fourth year primary school pupils attending BIP creativity schools in different locations in the new federal states for the first time in 2005, using instruments from the IGLU/PIRLS studies. By controlling for the social background, the competencies BIP students showed in focal domains at the end of the primary school were thus compared with a representative random sample. This cross-section assessment was repeated in 2006.

The longitudinal PERLE study (duration of studies I and II) aims to describe and explain the development of personalities and learning of primary school pupils across the whole time span of primary school attendance. The learning achievements of primary school pupils in the subjects of German and mathematics are assessed as target variables. Furthermore, we assess personal factors such as creativity, motivation or the self concept of the pupils. PERLE I (duration of the longitudinal study: 2006 - 2008) was particularly focused on the instructional conditions that influence personality and learning development, by providing video-graphical footage of lessons in German, mathematics and practical arts, as well as delivering numerous interviews with teachers. PERLE II (duration: 2009 - 2011) will pay special attention to the individual conditions of pupils themselves. One of the priorities of PERLE II is the analysis of the conditions underlying the family backgrounds of the children’s learning and development.

The first interviews of students carried out within the PERLE II framework are conducted in the summer of 2009, at the third school year level of the participating schools. Approximately 700 pupils from 18 schools will be assessed. This will include subject-related tests for skills in German and mathematics as well as questionnaires on individual characteristics. At the same time, the teachers of German, mathematics and the arts will be interviewed as regards their own views on instruction and their thoughts on school and education. Further assessments of pupils and two assessments of parents will follow in the spring and summer of 2010.


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)


Duration I: 2005-2009
Duration II: 2009-2011


Professor Dr. Contanze Kirchner, University of Augsburg
Professor Dr. Georg Peez, University of Duisburg - Essen

Project managers

Professor Dr. Frank Lipowsky
Professor Dr. Gabriele Faust

Further Information

Project website


Project details

Completed projects
2005 - 2009
External funding
Research topic: Large-scale assessment
last modified Nov 25, 2013