DIPF – Knowledge for Education
DIPF generates, indexes and transfers knowledge for education in order to support the development of solutions for current challenges in the education system. Under the umbrella of the Leibniz Association, together with other institutes, it forms the indispensable core of educational scientific competence in Germany.
Challenges in Education
The improvement of equal opportunities in education is relevant for society as a whole, as is the increase of quality in education. Increasing individualisation of educational pathways and offerings will require greater flexibility regarding the transitions between individual areas of education and the coordination of formal, non-formal and individual education. An important focus of the scientific work at DIPF thus concerns the monitoring of change processes and the professionalism of pedagogical staff as well as individual support options for an increasingly heterogeneous student body.
Researchers at DIPF use continuous educational monitoring to observe and analyse the conditions, progress characteristics, outcomes of and returns to education. DIPF makes knowledge thus generated available to the public at large, and supports policy-makers and administrators in improving conditions of education in Germany. Since 2006, a central contribution to this has been made with the report Education in Germany (Nationaler Bildungsbericht), which is coordinated at DIPF. Every two years, this report takes stock of the entire education system in Germany, presenting an important basis for evidence-informed decisions in education. This result-oriented monitoring underlines the Institute’s endeavour to enable evidence- and information-based policy and practice with its work on the basis of systematic knowledge.
International Large-scale Assessments
In addition to educational reporting, DIPF's range of services also includes comparative studies. The Institute takes a leading role in large-scale assessments, i.e. the comparative school assessment studies that are run on a large and in many cases international scale. DIPF has a long history of experience in managing such assessments. Since 2009, for example, the Institute has participated in the PISA studies (Programme for International Student Assessment), and worked on different tasks in this context. For PISA 2015 and PISA 2018, DIPF was the first German institution to be in charge of the development and assessment of internationally implemented questionnaires on adolescents’ learning conditions.
Educational Reforms and Their Effects
Educational reforms affect society as a whole, and they will often evoke intense public debate. In order to arrive at an impartial assessment of changes in a given education system, for instance as a result of integration or inclusion programmes, the scientific monitoring of such processes is helpful. Successes and potentials for optimisation can thus be identified. The evaluation of educational programmes, educational institutions and education systems constitutes an important element of the portfolio DIPF offers. Interdisciplinary teams of researchers provide ministries of education in different federal states with scientifically grounded evidence and support regarding processes of change, e.g. with the BONUS study or by monitoring the school structural reform in Bremen.
Scientific Advice and Expertise
In order to promote communication with political decision-makers and other stakeholders in society regarding current challenges in education and to highlight how knowledge gained from empirical research can contribute to overcoming them, the Leibniz Educational Research Network LERN coordinated by DIPF hosts an annual Forum on Educational Policy. Moreover, DIPF researchers regularly participate in conferences, conventions and debates, and are available as speakers or interview partners whenever possible (see our list of experts. If you would like to find out more about research at DIPF, you can find an overview of research topics pursued at DIPF here. DIPF prepares detailed information regarding its research activities in a biennial report and several times a year the journal is published.