BONUS study: Scientific monitoring and evaluation of the Bonus Program for schools in challenging circumstances in Berlin

The aim of the BONUS study is the scientific monitoring and evaluation of the Bonus Program. In this Program the state of Berlin provides funding to schools in challenging circumstances in order to reduce the influence of family background on educational success.

Project Description

The Bonus Program started on February 1, 2014. In total, 220 primary and secondary schools participate in the program. The schools were selected according to the proportion of the students who are exempt from a contribution to learning materials, i.e. the so-called Lmb factor. Any school with an Lmb factor above 50 percent is entitled to apply for funding from the Bonus Program. For this reason, schools that bear a high social burden as a consequence of  the composition of their student population or social structure of their environment are particularly targeted. Depending on the lmb proportion of a school, funding can vary from € 50,000 to 100,000€ per year. The concrete amount of financial support results from a basic allotment, a Cooperation Bonus, a Performance Bonus and the proximity to a socially deprived neighborhood. In addition, participating schools are required to sign a target agreement with the responsible school authority specifying the exact objectives of the school receiving the additional funds. Schools are granted far-reaching autonomy regarding the financial resources they receive in this context. The state of Berlin thus pursues the goal of improving educational opportunities for students in challenging circumstances and decreasing the proportion of students leaving school without a degree.

By taking process monitoring as well as outcome-oriented perspectives into account, the BONUS study investigates the implementation and effects of the Bonus Program. On the one hand, the assessment and implementation of the Bonus Program are examined. On the other hand experiences and effects are investigated. In the school years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2016/17, the school leaders from all participating schools will receive questionnaires (see figure 1 for study design) in order to identify aspects of the program that need to be optimized. In a second step and based on the first assessment of the school leaders, certain schools are selected for a teacher survey (standardized questionnaires) focusing on their estimation of the Bonus Program (school years 2014/15 and 2016/17). In addition, guided interviews will be run with teachers and school leaders in order to inspect concrete implementations of the Bonus Program and connected logics of action. Moreover, statistical school data will be used to compare participating with non-participating schools, and provide an in-depth analysis of the student populations of the schools in Berlin with diverse Lmb proportions.


Figur 1: Assessment design of the BONUS study


Project Management

Prof. Dr. Kai Maaz

Project Team

Project Details

Current project
Areas of focus
Department: Educational Governance
Unit: Educational Structures and Reforms
Education Sector: Primary and Secondary Education
10/2014 – 12/2022
External funding
Contact: Dr. Marko Neumann, Head of Unit