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Research

Study on the Development of All-Day Schools

Since 2005, the study has assessed the development of all-day schools across federal states in Germany.

Study Description

In Germany, converting and equipping schools to the all-day format is still one of the key issues of educational debate. Between 2003 and 2009, the German Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) funded this conversion with the investment programme Zukunft Bildung und Betreuung (Future Education and Care). In 2003 merely 23 % of the schools were all-day schools. This share had increased to more than 50 % in 2011. The Study on the Development of All-day Schools (Studie zur Entwicklung von Ganztagsschulen, StEG) was designed to evaluate this process. StEG is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research and the European Social Fund (Europäischer Sozialfonds (ESF). The first funding phase of StEG ran from 2005 until 2011. In 2012 the study entered its second funding phase (2012 – 2015).

Four cooperating institutions have realised StEG: the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF, Prof. Dr. Dr. Eckhard Klieme and Dr. Jasmin Decristan), the German Youth Institute (DJI, Prof. Dr. Thomas Rauschenbach), the Institute for School Development Research (IFS, Prof. Dr. Heinz Günter Holtappels) and the Justus-Liebig-University (JLU, Prof. Dr. Ludwig Stecher). The research group is counseled by an administrative and a scientific advisory board.

All-day Schools in Germany

In Germany, the school day traditionally lasted from approximately 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., particularly at the elementary level. Politically motivated and financed, the number of all-day schools has steadily increased across Germany since 2003. Currently, approximately 65 % of all schools in Germany are classified as all-day schools offering extended daily hours and extracurricular activities.

All-day schools are defined as schools which offer an all-day programme (lessons, extracurricular activities and lunch) at least seven hours a day on at least three days a week. The teaching staff is responsible for all extracurricular activities offered at the schools. Moreover, these activities should be related conceptually with the regular lessons.

Objectives

StEG is a longitudinal study that aims to describe general conditions at all-day schools and their effect on students, principals, teachers, educational staff and the students’ parents. This multi-perspective design should provide detailed information about school development processes and also help to stimulate such processes. Main research questions are:

  • Do teachers and external partners cooperate in planning and executing extracurricular activities? If so, how is this cooperation organised?
  • Which preconditions are required to implement extracurricular activities successfully?

Moreover, StEG investigates how all-day schools affect the students’ chances of academic success. In this context further research questions are:

  • How do all-day schools affect the students’ cognitive, social and motivational development?
  • How should extracurricular activities be designed to promote the students’ development?

First Funding Period (2005 – 2011)

During the first funding period, students of different age, their parents/legal guardians, principals, teachers, educational staff and external cooperation partners filled in questionnaires in 2005, 2007 and 2009. In sum, more than 50,000 people at more than 300 schools took part in the survey. The questionnaires used in StEG, are available in the DaQS database (Datenbank zur Qualität von Schule). The main results of this study are summarised here. A more detailed description of the results has been published by Fischer et al. (2011).

Second Funding Period (2012 – 2015)

The second funding period of StEG started in 2012. During this period, general conditions at all-day schools in Germany were assessed again. Therefore, principals of all-day schools in all of the 16 German federal states were requested to fill in questionnaires, once in 2012 and again in 2015. Thus, this study provides information about the organisation and the structure of all-day schools and about conceptual changes at such schools. The results can be used by administrators, educational policy-makers and principals for systematic school development purposes.

Moreover, each institute (DIPF, DJI, IFS, JLU) conducted individual studies,which were, however, related to each other in terms of content and methodology. All of these studies investigated effects of extracurricular activities provided at all-day schools as well as the quality features of such activities. The Projects are linked in such a way that results can be applied to each other.

StEG-S

StEG-S investigated the potential of all-day schools to promote key competencies, e.g. reading literacy in middle school students. A second objective of this study was to describe quality features of extracurricular activities, lessons at all-day schools, and their effect on the students’ motivation. The study was conducted by a research team at the German Institute for International Educational Research and supervised by Prof. Dr. Natalie Fischer, Prof. Dr. Dr. Eckhard Klieme and Dr. Jasmin Decristan. Participation in extracurricular activities, quality features of these activities and lessons at school as well as reading competencies, background, and motivational variables were assessed by computer-based questionnaires at three measurement points in fifth grade. In addition, teachers and educational staff provided information on the lessons and extracurricular activities they offer. StEG-S comprised two parts: a computer-based survey study at 66 schools and an intervention study at six of these schools. The intervention consisted of an extracurricular activity specially designed to promote reading literacy and motivation. More information about StEG-S can be found here (in German).

Third Funding Period (2016 – 2019)

In 2016, the third funding period of StEG started. Similar to the first and second funding periods, StEG aims to assess general conditions at all-day schools in Germany between 2016 and 2019. Information about the organisation and structure of all-day schools and about conceptual changes at such schools will be gathered by requesting principals of all-day schools in all of the 16 German federal states to complete questionnaires in 2018. Subsequently, the results of this assessment may help administrators, educational policy-makers, and principals with systematic school development.

Moreover, four substudies are being conducted as part of StEG by the cooperating institutes: StEG-Lesen (IFS and PH Freiburg), StEG-Tandem (DIPF and University of Kassel), StEG-Kooperation (University of Gießen) and StEG-Bildungsorte (DJI and University of Marburg).

StEG-Tandem: Optimising Study Periods at All-day Schools Through Cooperative Learning Activities

During the third funding period of StEG (2016-2019), the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF) and the University of Kassel are conducting a substudy called StEG-Tandem. The research team is working closely with staff at five comprehensive all-day schools in Germany to develop, implement, and evaluate a measure to optimize study periods for fifth-grade students at all-day schools. Within this framework, they are developing a concept for dedicating these study periods to cooperative learning activities such as pair work among fifth-grade students (“same age tandem”) and older students helping fifth-grade students (“cross-age mentoring”). The implementation and effectiveness of the measure will be monitored scientifically.

Study Periods at All-day Schools: An Important Part of School Life

Study periods are a part of the school day where students are supposed to work on learning-related activities assigned by the teacher (e.g. homework or similar study exercises). Typically part of the programme at all-day schools, such study periods can be used to provide students with academic and social learning opportunities as well as individual support. They can be integrated into the school timetable as part of the curriculum or take place after school, for example in the form of a study hall, homework club, or after-school care. During these periods, students can delve more deeply into topics they have learned about in class or receive help with their homework. Endeavors to integrate these additional learning periods into daily school life have entered some frameworks for enhancing the quality of all-day schools and can be found in the legislation of some federal states. Findings from research conducted within StEG indicate that across Germany approximately 70 % of lower track secondary schools have established homework and study periods as an important part of their all-day school programmes; however, many teachers and teaching assistants, students, and parents are dissatisfied with the way these study periods are currently being used.

Cooperative Learning During Study Periods at All-day Achools

Students have been found to appreciate study periods if they have the opportunity to communicate with other learners and receive expert support. The StEG-Tandem research team is cooperating with staff at all-day schools to develop a new concept for study periods. They are exploring the feasibility of coordinating and the effectiveness of initiating various types of cooperative learning activities during these study periods. The project targets students in grade 5, who have just transitioned from primary to secondary school. This educational transition is considered to be a psychologically demanding phase for students and is related to social and academic challenges.

Cooperative learning activities are expected to motivate fifth-grade students by meeting both their social and academic needs after this transition. More precisely, within the StEG-Tandem study, fifth-grade students should be encouraged to work in fixed pairs referred to as “tandems”. When working together, students can communicate purposefully and help each other learn, thereby experiencing social relatedness. In addition, older students are supposed to act as mentors for younger students and help them with their homework or the revision of content they covered in class, thereby providing academic support. By assisting younger students during learning and exercise periods, the mentors have the opportunity to practice and improve their social skills.

Scientists and Practitioners Jointly Develop a Concept for Optimising Study Periods

Selected staff members from the participating schools and StEG researchers are working together to find a way to optimise study periods at all-day schools. They are developing a concept in which students are given the opportunity to work with peers of the same age and older on cooperative learning activities. Activities are based on a manual which draws on current scientific findings and outlines how various types of cooperative learning activities can be introduced and implemented during study periods. Staff members at the participating schools are permitted to adapt some of the activities in the manual to meet the needs and interests of their particular school. The staff members are advised by the team of researchers and experienced practitioners.

Concept of the Study

The study has three stages. During the first stage (school year 2016/2017), selected staff members from each participating school worked together and received assistance from experienced practitioners and StEG-Tandem researchers to develop a concept on how to foster cooperative learning during study periods to suit the particular needs and interests of the school. During the second stage (first term of school year 2017/2018), the collaboratively developed measure is used with fifth-grade students. If necessary, the measure is further tailored in collaboration with experts and researchers to meet the school’s specific needs and interests. During the third stage (second term of school year 2017/2018), the measure is implemented autonomously by staff members at the participating schools with fifth-grade students. The development, implementation, and effectiveness of the school improvement measure are regularly evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Programme Evaluation

The effectiveness of the cooperative learning programmes is evaluated using both qualitative and quantitative measures. The working process on the concepts taking place in the group meetings (comprising the staff members of the schools, the experienced practitioner, and the StEG-Tandem researchers) are recorded, transcribed, and analysed. Fifth-graders and (once designated) their mentors are interviewed at several points in time during small group discussions.

In addition, different cohorts of fifth-graders, their parents, and their teachers complete questionnaires at several points in time before and after the implementation of the new concept on cooperative learning. Experience sampling methods using short questionnaires are also used to evaluate students’ daily experiences with study or homework assignments. Once designated, their mentors also complete questionnaires.

The qualitative and quantitative data collected are analysed with regard to the implementation of the new concept aimed at encouraging cooperative learning. Investigations are made into the effects of the new concept on fifth-graders’ engagement and emotions during the study periods, social skills, and academic achievement, as well as on mentoring students’ social skills. Lastly, various stakeholders, namely students, parents, and teachers, will be surveyed to determine their satisfaction with the implemented concept.

Coordination of StEG-Tandem

Brigitte Brisson

Publications

Publications from DIPF researchers in the StEG context

Funding

The study is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

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ESF-Logo


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Coordination of StEG

Désirée Theis

Project management

Project team

Project Details

State:
Current projects
Duration:
2004 – 2019
Funding:
External funding
Department: Educational Quality and Evaluation
Contact: Desiree Theis, Doctoral candidate
last modified Dec 13, 2017
Further Information About StEG

StEG Website (only in German)

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