Logo: Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung


Schools in Times of Change (SchiWa)

Schools in times of change (Schule im Wandel V, SchiWa) was a preliminary study to a larger-scale mixed-method study for the systematic historical assessment of change in the German school system.

Project description

The project was based on the studies of comprehensive schools conducted by Helmut Fend in the 1970s, adding a quantitative assessment and contemporary historical study to the introduction of comprehensive schools and their development in the district of Wetzlar. The preliminary study was also conceptualised as a mixed-method design, based on the comprehensive school studies from the 1970s. It consists of two sub-projects.


The quantitative sub-study that was conducted under the auspices of the department for “Educational Quality and Evaluation” focuses on a re-analysis of data from the comprehensive school studies carried out in the 1970s. To this end, the data was initially re-constructed and their quality assessed. Re-analyses will subsequently be conducted according to today’s standards (IRT scaling/multilevel modelling). These will either relate to aspects from the original studies or current topics from school quality research.

The contemporary historical sub-study that was conceptualised by the Research Library for the History of Education (BBF) focused on an investigation of developments and change in pedagogical and school political discourse and practices, taking the general introduction of comprehensive schools in the district of Wetzlar in the federal state of Hesse as an example. The district of Wetzlar, which was also explored in the earlier studies by Fend, was of exceptional scientific interest for this study: in 1971, comprehensive schools were generally introduced here, i.e. all secondary schools were transformed into schools of a completely new type. Particularly because even from an outsider’s perspective, the respective schools have developed quite differently since, this can serve as a basis for describing conditional factors for change and analyzing their relevance.

Both sub-projects were interlinked by considering results from the reanalyses of the quantitative data for contextualising data gained from historical case studies and interviews with contemporary witnesses, their analyses and interpretation on the change of schools and respective conditions. Conversely, results from the contemporary historical study were used for the interpretation of findings from analyses of correlations of the quantitative data. Results from both sub-studies prepare the ground for a subsequent main study.


Funded by DIPF 2015

Project management

Project team

Project Details

Completed projects
Project type: Interdepartmental projects
07/2013 – 02/2016
Contact: Julia Dohrmann, Doctoral candidate
last modified Jul 27, 2017