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The development of competencies in school and their importance for transitions within the education system

Research Line 2

Knut Neumann (spokesperson), Ute Harms, Gabriel Nagy & Ilka Parchmann

 

The start of the 21st century saw a significant increase in the demands placed on students during science and mathematics education. As the pace of technological development has increased, so too have the requirements for effectively understanding and using new technologies in everyday life.  It is not possible to know what will be required of students to thrive in the technological world they will inherit, so it is not enough to simply impart knowledge about the individual subject areas of mathematics and science. Rather, the aim of school instruction must be to enable students to develop competencies in mathematics and science that promote their sense of agency and provide a strong foundation for continued learning. Moreover, school instruction should provide the necessary foundation for participation in society and professional life.

In the last decade, research on mathematics and science education has had a particular focus on the extent to which students have developed the competencies expected at different stages of schooling. Currently, the question of how each of the targeted competencies can be systematically developed across several stages of education remains unanswered, as does the question concerning the extent to which the competencies acquired by the end of schooling actually prepare students for participation in society and professional life. Research Line 2 addresses these open questions by emphasizing two research foci.

The first research focus explores the systematic development of competencies in mathematics and science. In particular, this focus involves investigating the extent to which discontinuities in competency development exist between the different stages of education and how these discontinuities may be mitigated. 

The second research focus explores the question of how the mathematics and science competencies gained in school are a benefit for participation in society and professional life.

A particular emphasis within Research Line 2 will be on the characteristics of upper-secondary mathematics and science education, which not only prepares students for participation in society and professional life but also for post-secondary STEM education.