Logo: Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung


Dealing with heterogeneity

This research theme addresses concrete conditions for a successful approach to the growing heterogeneity of student populations at different levels of an education system.

Current educational political decisions, for instance regarding the merger of the lower and intermediate secondary school track or the inclusive education of students with special needs equally lead to an – intended - increase in the heterogeneity of students. Such measures target a reduction of disparities in the German education system. It is yet necessary to investigate in how far reforms aptly address social disparities in education and generate equal opportunities and the consequences invoked by the grown heterogeneity of student populations. Empirically, this issue is unresolved and it is investigated in the context of this research priority.

Moreover, concrete conditions for successfully dealing with heterogeneity are investigated. The success of many current reform measures crucially depends on how far it is possible to meet heterogeneous student needs at school and in instruction. In this context, the “need to support students individually” is often mentioned. Despite a widespread concept of individual support and respective expectations concerning its effects, there is no general agreement as to what this actually entails. The research priority of “heterogeneity” picks up on the concept.



Department of Educational Governance
last modified Aug 31, 2015