Competence models as a base for a diagnosis-supported individual support of students in primary and secondary school


Aims and research questions

The research program, komdif, conducts discipline-specific and interdisciplinary studies on competences in the following school subjects: science and technology, mathematics, German (as first language), foreign languages (second languages), social sciences and religion, art, as well as generic competences. Several intervention studies examine different aspects of the subject specific and generic competence development. The Hamburg school program, alles»könner, spans a wide field of subjects which can be accessed for the studies.

A central objective of the komdif research program is the development and trial of competence models which can serve as a basis to diagnose individual support needs for students. These form a reference framework for an assessment of individual competence developments. The programs, therefore, serve as a starting point to enhance learning arrangements and/or to foster self-regulated learning processes in individual subjects.

An important component of competence-supporting lessons is the evaluation of students’ achievements. Competential feedback informs students about their competency level and gives them as well as the teachers an individual feedback on which competences still need to be developed. Achievement feedback is then not limited to annual reports; it also includes verbal or written feedback throughout the school year.


  • Whereas the IPN is responsible for the school subjects science and mathematics, educational researchers of didactics at other universities conduct corresponding studies for further subjects on research into competence modeling and competence development.
    These include:
  • Professor Thomas Zabka from the University of Hamburg for the German language,
  • Professor Daniela Caspari from the University of Berlin for foreign languages,
  • Professor Martin Rothgangel from the University of Vienna for the social sciences and religion,
  • Professor Maria Peters (arts) and Professor Horst Schecker (natural sciences) from the University of Bremen,
  • Professor Helmut Prechtl (biology) from the University of Potsdam,
  • Professor Jens Möller focuses on generic competences.


    Together with scientists from these academic fields, a body of education administrative staff are striving to effectively support the professional work of teaching personnel in order to establish methodological diversity. Their work mainly consists of collaborating and being involved in mutual learning progressions.

    A further aim of komdif is the sustainable improvement of instruction by supporting individual competences. For these reasons, a close connection to the Hamburg alles»könner school program was established. One part of the collaboration requires that komdif scientists are available as partners and consultants for those who are participating in the alles»könner school program. The main participants are schools, teaching personnel and representatives of Hamburg’s federal institute for teacher education and school development (LI). The second part of the collaboration is formed through the schools’ support of scientists’ research interests, who have the opportunity to empirically and purposefully test their research questions in the relevant school classes. Through these joint efforts, the knowledge basis is propelled forward by both the practical implementation of individualized, competence-oriented instruction and the embedding of competence-based research in the present research in teaching and learning.


    In addition, the Hamburg alles»könner school program is evaluated within the scope of komdif. Focus of the Evaluation is the systematic development of student’s competence in school. The evaluation focuses on the intended systematic competence-based development of instruction. The latter is the precondition for optimal support of individual competence development of each student. Within the framework of the school program, processes are formed that initiate and systematically anchor the targeted development of instruction. Moreover, instruments are developed which can be applied in class and foster individual competence development. The core of the evaluation, therefore, focuses on processes of change in instruction and the effects of the exemplarily developed instruments.

    CAU and IPN scientists are carrying out the evaluation which is headed by Professor Jens Möller.