ZIB’s scientific work focuses on conducting the PISA study in Germany. The research institute also addresses further aspects related to PISA and carrying out research projects with a general interest in ensuring the quality of the educational system.
In its capacity as PISA National Centre, the ZIB is responsible for planning, executing and evaluating the national PISA studies. This includes preparing the international survey tools and adapting them for carrying out the study in Germany. The ZIB’s PISA research group also incorporates national extensions and additions in the studies in order to achieve a more comprehensive picture of the educational level of 15-year-old students in Germany. Aside from its national PISA work, another aim of the ZIB is to co-design the PISA studies at international level and actively participate in their conception.
Moreover, the ZIB conducts further research projects related to the PISA studies. On the one hand, these are studies which enhance the content of the PISA studies with various aspects such as research into the characterisation of risk groups or a follow-up study on PISA to add a longitudinal dimension to the measurements. On the other hand, the ZIB also addresses methodological aspects in connection with large-scale assessments like the PISA study, aiming at optimising both survey tools and evaluation methods. In this case, research projects focus on questionnaire constructs, technology-based assessment, process data, missing data and multi-level analyses.
Other research projects deal more generally with educational aspects aimed at improving the educational system. This includes the ZIB research syntheses which address and explore practice-oriented issues.
To sum up, the ZIB’s current research programme can be divided into four areas, each covering different educational research aspects, which nonetheless are closely intertwined:
School and teaching reasearch
This area is aimed at identifying the framework conditions of schools and teaching with a positive effect on students’ learning success.
These currently include an investigation of school conditions and their effects on student performance, as well as the PISA-Ceco project, which examines teaching with regard to various quality characteristics. Furthermore, secondary analyses of various data sets are being used to investigate the effects of teacher competence on pupils.
This programme area is devoted to the question of how the collection and evaluation of data from international comparative assessments can be optimised to achieve the best possible analysis. It may well be that these methodological issues relate to all other research areas.
Currently, this includes studies on mode effects in PISA 2018, on the handling of missing data, on processes in the processing of distributed information, and on methodological challenges in estimating trends and cross-sectional country comparisons in school achievement studies.