NEPS Competencies

From the perspective of “Competence Development Across the Life Course“, the National Educational Panel Study develops models for the structural differentiation and the various levels of competence development across the entire life course. The primary focus is on the assessment and analysis of the development of subject-specific and general competencies.


The National Educational Panel Study conducts longitudinal surveys of linguistic competence in German (reading literacy and listening comprehension), mathematical competence, and scientific literacy, as well as competencies in the use of information, computers and technology (ICT literacy). The focus on educational processes and competence development across the life course requires a perspective that allows for the consideration of processes taking place within one learning environment as well as diachronic (longitudinal) and synchronic (simultaneous) transitions between different learning environments.


Therefore, the primary purpose of this research unit is to develop test instruments that facilitate the measurement of the competence areas named above across the life course. Moreover, the further development of computer- and web-based diagnostics of competencies is an important task as part of the National Educational Panel Study in order to optimize the efficiency and precision of longitudinal testing in representative samples. In this context, efficiency refers to aspects of cost reduction and time saving. Precision means the chance to take a further step toward comparability and approximation of reality by using technology-based adaptive tests.

Contact: kompetenzen(at)

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