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Pat Alexander

Patricia Alexander

(Department of Human Development, University of Maryland)


Information Management versus Knowledge Building: What Studies of Multiple Source Use Reveal about Students’ Learning and Performance
Today’s students live and learn in a world that could not have been imagined a generation or even a decade ago—a world where a deluge of information continues unabated. Today virtual “friends” can number in the hundreds; students tweet, blog, and text with abandon; they read “e-books;” they watch what media they want, when they want, and where they want; they have “smart” phones that easily outperform the sophisticated computers of only a few years ago; and, the boundaries between private lives and public personas have become obscured. But what are the consequences of such dramatic changes in information volume, access, and use on the nature of teaching and learning? That is the fundamental question explored in this presentation. Specifically, Patricia Alexander shares findings from a series of studies that have examined the way in which students’ conceive of and engage with online sources in the completion of academic tasks. Implications of this program for educational research and instructional practice, as well as for the assessment of students’ information management and knowledge building in various academic domains are discussed.


Werner Blum
Werner Blum

(Didaktik der Mathematik, Universität Kassel)

„Guter Fachunterricht“ zwischen Theorie, Empirie und Praxis – Beiträge aus der Fachdidaktik Mathematik

Unterrichtsqualität ist eines der zentralen Themen der aktuellen empirischen Lehr-/Lernforschung. Im Vortrag sollen am Beispiel des Fachs Mathematik ausgewählte Aspekte von „gutem Fachunterricht“ beleuchtet werden: Wie kann selbständiges Lernen gefördert werden? Wie können Diagnose, Feedback und Unterstützung aufeinander abgestimmt werden? Welcher Lehrerqualifikationen bedarf es hierzu? Und welche Rolle spielt in diesem Kontext die Fachdidaktik? Exemplarisch wird dabei auf einige interdisziplinäre empirische Studien zum Lehren und Lernen von Mathematik Bezug genommen: auf DISUM zum selbständigen Lernen, auf Co²CA zu Diagnose und Feedback sowie auf COACTIV zu Lehrerqualifikationen.


Pamela Sammons

(Department of Education, University of Oxford)

Using Mixed Methods to Investigate the Influence of Family, Pre-school and School Experiences on Children’s Development and Progress: Results from the EPPSE 3-16 Research in England

The Effective Provision of Pre-school Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE 3-16) is a major longitudinal study funded by the Department of Education in England (1996-2014). It adopted a mixed methods educational effectiveness design to follow a sample of around 3000 children from age 3 to 16 across different phases of education from pre-school to the end of compulsory secondary education. The presentation will outline the rationale for the study’s design and illustrate how the research sought to combine both quantitative and qualitative approaches to identify and analyse the influences of various individual child, family (including the home learning environment), pre-school and school influences on children’s cognitive and social behavioural development. The research used a variety of statistical approaches particularly multilevel modelling to study children’s attainment, progress and social behavioural development. This strategy was used to take account of the effects of clustering in the data (children nested in pre-school settings and later in primary or secondary schools) and identify the strength of various predictors. The study shows that pre-school effects can be identified in the short, mid and longer term and also points to the importance of parenting as measured by the early years home learning environment (HLE), as well as of other predictors including parents’ qualifications, SES and income in shaping children’s educational outcomes. In addition, in depth case studies of individual pre-schools illuminate features of good practice in early years settings, and case studies of children and families who succeeded against the odds provide further qualitative evidence to complement the quantitative findings. EPPSE findings show that pre-school and school effects can be of particular importance in reducing the likelihood of a child being identified as having SEN in primary school and in ameliorating the adverse effects of multiple disadvantages. The research has had a major impact on policy and practice in England.



Marita Jacob

(Institut für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Universität zu Köln)

Between- and Within-Differentiation in Higher Education: New Dimensions of Social Inequality?

In Germany as in many European countries participation in higher education has expanded considerably accompanied with institutional differentiation. Besides the vocationally vs. academically oriented tiers of higher education (Fachhochschule and university) a further division of different tertiary levels was introduced by Bachelor and Master programmes in the course of the so-called ‘Bologna process’. Additionally, pathways into higher education have become more diverse and student experience has broadened e.g. by studying abroad or participating in the labour market while enrolled. It is an open theoretical and empirical question, whether and in what respect this processes of differentiation and pluralisation were accompanied by a reduction or an increase in social inequality. In my presentation I summarise the findings of a number of recent sociological studies on (a) the consequences of differentiation on social equalities in access to higher education and (b) social inequalities in students’ lives. Several studies show that educational expansion has led to the inclusion of less privileged students into higher education. These students now enter higher education that had not entered higher education in the past. However, higher-tier institutions and master programmes have remained a stronghold of the privileged. Besides these differences in access, students from the upper classes are more likely to choose the most prestigious subjects, they are less affected by the necessity of working during their studies and sign up more often for study programmes abroad. Hence, children from more privileged homes are still able to assert their advantageous positions.