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Information Sessions for Elementary Schools at the Ministries of Education and Cultural Affairs

The events held for representatives of elementary schools taking part in the pilot study for the first grade had two major aims. On the one hand, participants gained extensive information on the content and organizational procedures of the studies in elementary schools. On the other hand, the discussions with school representatives were aimed to find out which parts of the project needed improving in order for the study to be carried out as smoothly as possible. The highly constructive dialogue with the participants of these events has already generated a number of important suggestions for the main survey.

Within the scope of the pilot study, surveys will now take place in elementary schools for the first time. In order to get in touch with the participating elementary schools, information sessions were organized and held at the start of this month. The Ministries of Education and Cultural Affairs of the federal states involved in the pilot study provided the facilities, welcomed the participants very cordially and once again confirmed their support for the National Educational Panel Study. In addition to the school representatives, there were also two more representatives present, each of the NEPS and of the IEA DPS respectively, in order to give presentations, answer questions, and get into conversation. The effort was worthwhile: after all, a full survey is scheduled for the study in the first years and teachers as well as principals play a highly important part in ensuring a smooth running of events. Furthermore, they are multipliers, communicators and intermediaries to parents who are to be persuaded to participate. By giving extensive information concerning structure, content, and the process of the study, teachers can answer the parents’ questions competently and therefore eliminate any possible insecurities and doubts. The scheduled realization of testing in small groups was discussed and recognized as mostly unproblematic by the school representatives. The offer made by the survey research institute to be as flexible as possible in the context of individual agreements with schools certainly contributed a lot to this opinion.


In addition, the role of the parents was discussed, especially if and how they should be informed about the study apart from the detailed NEPS cover letter, the data protection policy, and the statement of agreement. Also part of the talk was the question how parents can be advised about the study directly by the schools and thus encouraged to participate. Among other things, it was suggested to provide a presentation which can be shown at parent-teacher conferences or to send short letters to the parents in which the project is presented or participation is recommended. We were very happy to receive valuable suggestions and lots of support by the ministries and schools involved. This commitment, which was certainly strengthened by the personal contact at the event, will hopefully turn into a good long-term collaboration.

In the photo (from left to right): Svenja Bundt (DPC), Dr. Sabine Müller (Ministerium für Schule und Weiterbildung des Landes NRW), Dr. Jutta von Maurice (NEPS), Cornelia Schneider (DPC), Tobias Linberg (NEPS)

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