Literature in Abitur Examinations (1946–1972)

Subject to this doctoral project, abitur (higher education qualification) examinations relating to literature was analyzed, dating from 1946 to 1972. A historical and regional comparison was drawn regarding their requirements.

Project Description

At least since the second half of the 19th century, literature-related tasks became established elements in the abitur examinations. Ideas of an “educational value” (of selected) literary texts and appropriate thematic forms have however undergone a historical change. This also pertains to writing-didactic concepts and the specific significance of literary texts as objectives of writing at school.

Teachers’ comments on written exams served to reconstruct the forms of reflection on literary texts that were demanded, realized in essays and graded in their assessments by means of different formulations of task assignment. The source basis was amongst others provided by the corpus collected for the project “Abitur examinations practices and respective essays from 1882 to 1972”.


The doctoral thesis was realized in the project “Abitur examinations practices and respective essays from 1882 to 1972”.


Eiben-Zach, Britta: Literatur als Gegenstand Westberliner Abituraufsätze der 1950er und 1960er Jahre. Interpretationen und Literaturkonzepte, Aufgabentypen und Aufsatzarten. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2022. (Beiträge zur Geschichte des Deutschunterrichts; 76)
DOI: 10.3726/b19781

Project Management

Project Details

Project type: Qualification project
Completed Projects
07/2016 – 12/2021
Research field: Historical Practice of School, Instruction and Education