Ausgabe 1/2008, 14. Jahrgang
Ein halbes Jahrhundert internationale Schulleistungsstudien. Eine systematisierende Übersicht
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This paper provides an overview over half a century of international large-scale assessments from the viewpoint of the German participation in such studies. Since the Pilot Twelve Country Study was launched in the late 1950s, the international interest in large-scale assessments has constantly grown so that these studies now form an integral part of educational research and policy in many countries worldwide. In Germany and its Federal States, however, this kind of research does not have such a continuous tradition. Despite participating in a number of early studies, Germany refrained from par-ticipation for most of the 1970s and 1980s. The rekindled interest since the mid-1990s reveals a change in educational approaches and reflects a certain backlog in view of empirical research. This review of five decades of international large-scale assessments retraces the German involvement in such studies and points out a number of relevant assessment results in international comparison. Fur-ther, this paper reveals how the studies have grown over time, not only in numbers of participating countries but also in terms of the subject areas they cover as well as the target groups they assess. The paper also reflects on the development of some major lines of argument that prevail in current discus-sions among and between educational researchers and practitioners, politicians, and the general public. The paper’s summary attempts to mediate this discussion and includes a cautious outlook on a number of possible future areas of research in international large-scale assessments.