Few developments in the education sector are as pervasive in the education domain as the increasing production and use of quantitative data. Governments have increasingly implemented programs to measure students’ competencies, knowledge or well-being. At the same time, increased digitalization in schools has led to the emergence of rich sources of user-generated data or “big-data” (for example through the use of apps or learning platforms) that enable researchers to analyze students’ learning behavior. Moreover, experimental designs to evaluate the causal effects of educational practices on students learning have become increasingly common.
The research programme EDU-EQUAL taps into this potential and analyzes processes of the generation of learning and educational effectiveness as well as inequalities in educational experiences, e.g. by gender, ethnicity or social class. It will thus contribute to answering the questions how contextual, institutional factors as well as didactical approaches relate to learning outcomes, and what the causes and consequences of educational inequalities are. The programme covers the entire educational biography and brings together researchers from early childhood to adult education, with a particular focus on schools.
Making use of the different backgrounds and strengths of a range of different researchers, the programme wants to unfold the innovative potential of cross-disciplinary work. It integrates a range of disciplinary backgrounds such as psychology, sociology, linguistics and didactics and offers its members a platform that allows to share and jointly develop methodological competences.
The toolbox of researchers in the programme comprises such different methods as policy evaluation methods based on observational data, the analysis of “big-data” and the use of machine learning methods in educational research, methods for measuring student outcomes in education, experimental methods and randomized trials, survey methodologies and the internationally comparative analysis of quantitative data.
The research programme will intensively collaborate with external partners both nationally and internationally.