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“The Role of Teacher Characteristics and Additional Teaching Opportunities in Supporting Low-Achieving Students”

Tandem Junior Research Group

National and international comparative studies such as IGLU, TIMSS, and the IQB Education Trends regularly show that a high percentage of students only reach lower competency levels at the end of elementary schooling in Germany. Thus, those students do not have the reading, mathematics, and science skills necessary for successful learning at secondary level (Bremerich-Vos, Wendt, & Bos, 2017; Kohrt, Haag, & Stanat, 2017; Selter, Walter, Walther, & Wendt, 2016; Weirich, Wittig, & Stanat, 2017). These weak students not only face particular challenges themselves; they also present the school system with challenges. After the transition to secondary school, the curriculum progresses and new learning content is continuously being added. However, at the same time, a number of gaps in students’ knowledge must be filled in order to provide a basis for future learning processes. Also, after several experiences of failure in elementary school, the motivational prerequisites of weak students are particularly poor. These students need special support in order to learn successfully at secondary level and, thus, to ultimately have the chance of obtaining a school-leaving certificate and participating in vocational training and society. The tandem junior research group therefore focuses on the following overarching issue:

What is the best way to support weak students?

On the one hand, a focus is placed on the characteristics of teachers who are particularly successful in supporting weak students (focus of Dr. Janina Roloff-Bruchmann) and, on the other hand, a focus is placed on the design and effects of instructional settings outside regular lessons (e.g., tutoring, remedial teaching, homework assistance) that particularly support weak students (focus of Dr. Karin Guill).

Both perspectives will be combined within the framework of the intervention study IMPULSE. The aim of this study is to train student teachers to provide targeted support in mathematics for weak students in small groups in addition to regular lessons. Furthermore, additional available data sets will be used to address both the characteristics of particularly successful teachers and the effects of different instructional settings. 

Project Management: Dr. Karin Guill & Dr. Janina Roloff-Bruchmann

Project Team: Lisa Benckwitz and Katharina Hilpert

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