You are here: Home / The IPN / News / Successfully Shaping the Transition from School to University

Successfully Shaping the Transition from School to University

May 16, 2023

Representatives from schools and universities in Schleswig-Holstein jointly developed a set of prerequisites for mathematics in STEM studies.

Many first-year students in STEM (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology) programs drop out because they lack the mathematics skills needed for the subject. But what are these specific skills that students need to succeed in their studies? For a long time, for example, there has been a controversial debate about whether the performance standards in school are too low or the requirements at universities are too high.

Thus far, this discussion has not produced a practical approach to solving the problem. In Schleswig-Holstein, therefore, mathematics teachers from all parts of the state, employees of the state institute, the Institute for Quality Development in Schools Schleswig-Holstein (IQSH), and the Ministry for General and Vocational Education, Research, Science and Culture (MBFWK), as well as university teachers from all state universities, have jointly set out to achieve better coordination on mathematics knowledge at the transition from school to university.

There were two key objectives:

  1. reaching a consensus on the relevant mathematical knowledge and skills that, on the one hand, can realistically be achieved in the context of mathematics education and, on the other hand, are sufficient for a successful start in STEM studies.
  2. providing a tangible description of this mathematical knowledge and skill in the form of a catalog with illustrative tasks and solutions, so that it becomes transparent for students interested in studying what is expected of them in STEM studies.


The collaboration of mathematics teachers, IQSH and Ministry staff, and university teachers of STEM courses was jointly organized and funded by the IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Kiel, IQSH and the MBFWK. In a process lasting several years, the participants exchanged ideas about learning mathematics at school and in university and discussed in detail the many aspects of mathematical knowledge and skills that can be relevant for the transition from school to university. The basis for this was, on the one hand, the subject requirements for mathematics as goals of mathematics teaching at secondary levels I and II and, on the other hand, the results of the IPN Kiel's MaLeMINT study (see IPN Journal Issue No. 3), in which the expected mathematical learning requirements for STEM courses of study were compiled by almost 1000 university teachers from all over Germany. A comprehensive catalog of tasks is now available as a result of the project, illustrating the mathematical requirements at the transition from school to university for STEM courses of study at universities in Schleswig-Holstein. This catalog will be distributed to all schools in Schleswig-Holstein with an upper secondary school and the constructive dialog between universities, teacher training, schools and research will continue in the future.

Complete information about the MaLeMINT study is available here