Schools in Times of Change (SchiWa)

Schools in times of change (SchiWa), initially funded as part of a quality-controlled DIPF internal competition, is a project consisting of various sub-studies for the systematic and historical investigation of changes in the school system. The starting point for the investigation was Helmut Fend's comprehensive school studies from the 1970s.

Project Description

The project "Schools in Times of Change" started in July 2013 and is composed of four studies:

  1. Processing and reanalyzing of Helmut Fend's three-state study (data from 1978 and 1979 evaluating comprehensive schools in Lower Saxony, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia),
  2. Contemporary historical study on the change of pedagogical and school-political discourses and practices using the example of the area experiment with comprehensive schools in the Hessian district of Wetzlar,
  3. Preliminary study for a follow-up of the Fend study at ten schools in Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate.
  4. A renewed survey of the schools formerly involved in the Fend study in order to trace the changes in teaching and school cultures, supplemented by acontemporary history analyses.

In the first study, which was conducted by the Department Teacher and Teaching Quality (TTQ) in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Tobias Feldhoff (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, JGU), the data of Helmut Fend's three-state study were reconstructed and new scalings as well as analyses of effects of school and teaching quality were conducted using today's methodological standards and software (e.g., IRT scaling, multilevel analyses).
The second study, designed by Prof. Dr. Sabine Reh (BBF), is a contemporary-historical analysis of changes in pedagogical and school policy discourses and practices using the example of the area experiment with comprehensive schools in the Hessian district of Wetzlar. The district of Wetzlar was of particular scholarly interest in the context of the Fend study because the comprehensive school was introduced there on a comprehensive basis in 1971, i.e., all lower secondary schools were converted into comprehensive schools.

The third study consists of a new survey, which was again realized in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Tobias Feldhoff (JGU) at the beginning of 2017 at ten schools in Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate. Selected instruments developed by Fend in the context of the three-state study were used again to test the extent to which they still meet the quality criteria in use today. Initial analyses provided information about possible changes in teachers' attitudes and practices in dealing with students over the past 40 years.

A fourth study is planned as a third-party funded project in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Tobias Feldhoff (JGU) and Prof. Dr. Sabine Reh (BBF). By means of a follow-up survey at the schools participating in the three-state study at that time, comparative analyses will be made possible both at the level of individual schools and for the overall sample. The focus will be on questions concerning the change of school and teaching cultures against the background of changed sociocultural and school structural conditions (e.g., general change of values, discourses on professions, migration, merging of Hauptschulen and Realschulen in some federal states, changed composition of student bodies). The comparative quantitative analyses of the relationships between school, classroom, and outcome characteristics in the two studies (three-state study and new survey) will be contextualized by case analyses based on contemporary history. An application for funding has been submitted to the DFG (German Research Foundation) in 2021.



The preliminary study was funded by DIPF, as part of a competion for the strategetic developement of the DIPF departments, using overhead means.

Project Management

Project Team

Project Details

Project type: Third-party funded project
Current projects
07/2013 –
Research field: Pedagogical Knowledge – Institutions, Practices and Actors
Contact: Julia Kurig