Evaluation of the preparatory service in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

The project examines the effects of the preparatory service reforms for teachers in North Rhine-Westphalia, which were implemented in 2012. In addition, current questions and developments in teacher training are investigated in more detail, such as digitalization or side entry.

Project Description

As part of the reform, the preparatory service in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) was shortened. At the same time, adjustments in content were made and new institutional learning opportunities were introduced. A few years earlier, a practical semester was added to the teacher-training Master's program. Since then, the preparatory service reforms had been scientifically evaluated and are currently being accompanied in the third evaluation phase at the DIPF. The project is funded by the Ministry of School and Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

First evaluation phase (2011–2016)

The focus of the first phase was to describe whether the reforms had been successful and which short-term effects could be observed. It was found that soon after the reform was implemented, a significant part of the new learning opportunities had been successfully realized while maintaining the quality of training. Furthermore, the innovations were deemed useful and positively received by both instructors and teacher candidates.

Second evaluation phase (2018–2022)

The aim of the second phase was to comprehensively evaluate the long-term effects of the reformed teacher training. In contrast to the first phase, all new learning opportunities had now been fully implemented and the majority of teacher candidates had already completed the reformed Master's program with the practical semester before entering the preparatory service.The second phase of the evaluation strengthened the findings from the previous one: Overall, the newly introduced learning opportunities had been realized successfully, which was also reflected in the continued favorable evaluations by the teacher candidates and their instructors. At the same time, several needs for optimization and support could be identified regarding the different learning opportunities. At the beginning of 2020, during the project period, the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant changes to the overall situation. Although this extraordinary situation allowed for new questions to be considered within the evaluation, at the same time the associated limitations did not allow for the planned comparison between the cohorts of the first and second evaluation phases.This aspect, along with the findings of the previous evaluation phase, unanswered questions, and new developments in teacher training in NRW, led to a continuation of the empirical evaluation.

Third and current evaluation phase (2023–2025)

Following on from the first two project phases, the preparatory service is now evaluated in a third phase since the beginning of 2023. Central questions about the professional development of the teacher candidates will be continued. Additionally, new questions deal with teaching and learning within digitalization, the guiding principle of the adult learner and permeability in the teaching profession, given the current shortage of teachers.

Project Objectives

How do teacher candidates develop during their preparatory service? How do they experience this time? What challenges do they and their instructors face? And how can they be positively supported in overcoming them? These are the central questions we are investigating within the project. Our aim is to examine the development of professional competencies within the preparatory service and to identify resources of a successful reform, as well as recognize risk factors for an unfavorable development. The data basis is a comprehensive survey in all administrative districts of North Rhine-Westphalia. In order to approach the question from different perspectives, we not only use surveys, but also conduct in-depth group interviews (focus groups) with the teacher candidates and their instructors between the standardized initial and final interviews, in autumn 2023.


Project Management

Prof. Dr. Mareike Kunter

Project Team

Project Details

Current project
Area of Focus Differential Educational Conditions and Educational Trajectories
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
Unit: Teaching and Learning in School Contexts
Education Sectors: Primary and Secondary Education, Further Education
01/2023 - 12/2025
External funding
Contact: Dr. Jürgen Schneider, Academic Staff