In her keynote speech, Prof. Dr. Cordula Artelt looked back on the past ten years of the study, on milestones and successes to date. In the meantime, 141 main surveys have been conducted, the data of which, in the form of 73 scientific use files, have been obtained free of charge by more than 2,500 research data users from 31 countries and used for research purposes. In her outlook on future developments, she particularly highlighted the potential of the new Start Cohort 8, which will integrate a new generation of fifth-grade students into the NEPS starting in 2022.
In her keynote lecture, which was also the annual finale of the LIfBi Lectures series, Michelle Jackson presented reflections on the use of fundamental causes theory in the analysis of socioeconomic inequalities. Fundamental causes theory plays a particularly significant role in the field of health inequalities, but little in other disciplines. According to Jackson, research in the field of educational inequality, for example, would benefit from adopting the fundamental causes approach. According to him, the theory offers three key advantages: First, it has a clear set of propositions, it is falsifiable, and it is able to demonstrate the extent of theoretical consensus in the field of inequality research. Second, a fundamental causes theory would require greater attention to the quality of measurement instruments. Finally, this approach could help researchers better predict the effects of interventions.
The NEPS Publication Award, which comes with a prize money of 1,000 Euro, was again split this year due to the high quality of the numerous nominations. On the one hand, the article "Comparing Apples and Oranges: Curricular Intensification Reforms Can Change the Meaning of Students' Grades!" by Nicolas Hübner, Wolfgang Wagner, Benjamin Nagengast (all University of Tübingen), Jan Hochweber (PH St. Gallen) and Marko Neumann (DIPF Frankfurt/Main), published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, was awarded. On the other hand, Thomas Zimmermann (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main) received the award for his analyses on "Social Influence or Rational Choice? Two Models and Their Contribution to Explaining Class Differentials in Student Educational Aspirations", which appeared in the European Sociological Review.
In their article, Hübner et al. explain how school reforms can distort the performance assessment of students. Using data from the NEPS supplementary study in Thuringia, the study shows that grading by teachers is not unaffected by reforms in the education system - and comparing grades before and after a reform runs the risk of comparing the proverbial apples with oranges.
Zimmermann used data from the NEPS to analyze how the Wisconsin Model of Status Attainment (WIM), on the one hand, and the Rational Choice Theory (RCT), on the other, can explain the relationship between students' social background and their educational aspirations. The two theories have rarely been compared directly using large-scale empirical studies. Zimmermann's analysis confirms that both the WIM and the RCT can each independently explain aspirations and class differences in aspirations.
In addition, the paper "Heading for New Shores: Moving From Traditional to Modern Paradigm of Teacher Professional Development" by Florian Bühler, Nicolas Hübner, Christian Fischer and Kathleen Stürmer (University of Tübingen) was recognized as the best poster of the conference and awarded a prize money of 250 EUR.
- An abstract of "Comparing Apples and Oranges" has been published in the NEPS Results Compact series. Abstracts of both award-winning publications can also be found here.
In 15 sessions with three presentations each, at ten poster presentations and at a virtual "round table with the Research Data Center", participants exchanged views on a wide range of topics in empirical educational research, from early childhood competence development to the yields of adult education. Methodological approaches and survey instruments were discussed as well as results of recent surveys, for example on the consequences of the Corona Lockdown in Germany. A particular focus of the presentations was the question of the consequences of digitization for educational processes and an appropriate operationalization of related constructs.