Logo: Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung

Autorität und Prüfung im 20. Jahrhundert

Authority and Examination in the 20th Century

The doctoral project “Authority and examination in the 20th century. Authorization and Legitimization of teacher authority in the abitur examination practice” analyzes teacher comments on German essays with respect to continuity and change of pedagogical authority.

Project Description

It is commonly assumed that school examinations and most of all those leading to a higher education qualification serve to determining whether and in how far the students have reached a certain state of knowledge and maturity.

A kind of “authorization” takes place on both sides by this certification and assessment. The examinees are certified to be mature and sufficiently knowledgeable. Those appraising the examinees need to legitimize themselves in terms of being qualified to certify that “something has been attained that should be reached”. In the 20th century and particularly after the two world wars, societal and political transformations happened which assumingly also led to changes in the formation and legitimation of pedagogical authority. The educational historical doctoral project focuses on the assessment of possible changes of pedagogical authority, based on teacher appraisals of German essays.

Especially the essays students write for their abitur (higher education qualification exams) are suitable for such an analysis because right from the start, a high relevance was attributed to the German essay regarding the confirmation of a student’s maturity in general.

As source, besides others, the corpus collected for the project “Abitur examination practices and respective essays from 1882 to 1972“ is used.


The doctoral thesis is link to the project “Abitur examination practices and respective essays from 1882 to 1972“.

Project Management

Project Details

Project type: Qualification project
Current projects
09/2016 – 08/2019
Research field: Historical Practice of School, Instruction and Education
Contact: Pia Rojahn
last modified Jul 20, 2017