Ideas, Actors, Knowledge – Comprehensive School in the State of Hesse

The study "Ideas, actors, knowledge – comprehensive school in the state of Hesse: the example of Wetzlar from the 1970s until today" focuses on investigating developments and changes of pedagogical and school political discourse and practice for the example of the so-called “Flächenversuch” concerning comprehensive schools in the district of Wetzlar in the State of Hesse.

Project Description

The study is a contemporary historical part of the DIPF research project “School in times of change (SchiWa)“.

In 1971, a laboratory situation was created in Wetzlar by invoking a complete transformation of the formerly three-tier secondary school system to a system of integrated comprehensive schools. This situation was exceptionally well suited for an investigation of the relationship between pedagogical and individual School, i.e. cultural traditions on the one hand and external social and political influence factors on the other hand. Furthermore, it is possible to take long-term historical change of internal school communication into perspective.

In a first step, the social, political and cultural conditions at Wetzlar as well as the pedagogical discourse on comprehensive schools was reconstructed by analyzing printed and archival sources, followed by deterrmintation of developmental periods.

Subsequently, experts and contemporary witnesses involved in the process were interviewed. Finally two different school developments were analyzed, where dealing with heterogeneity was handeled and developed in a diametrically opposite way.


The project competed successfully when DIPF invited its staff to participate in a competition for the strategic development of departmental activities. The competition was sourced from external funding overheads.


Project Mangement

Project Team

Project Details

Project type: Third-Party Funded Project
Completed Projects
10/2013 – 12/2016
Research field: Pedagogical Knowledge – Institutions, Practices and Actors
Contact: Monika Mattes