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Standardized Performance Assessment in Germany and Austria – lessons learned?

FSW Lecture by prof. Jana Gross Ophoff - 3/7/2023

About the lecture 

Both the German and the Austrian models of evidence-based education governance are bureaucratically regulated, but teachers and schools are autonomous in their implementation of requirements in schools. Accountability is ensured by regularly monitoring educational outcomes compared to national educational standards, e.g. by conducting mandatory comparative tests. In Germany, for example, tests have been administered nationwide on an annual basis since 2004 in at least one subject in the third (VERA 3) or eighth (VERA 8) grade. Evidence on trends and longitudinal effects in the use of such data by teachers (in the form of score feedback based on competency levels) is available (Groß Ophoff, 2013; Maier, 2010; Nachtigall & Hellrung, 2013; Wacker & Kramer, 2012). In this presentation, selected findings on the engagement with and use of VERA 3 feedback from 2004 to 2015 will be presented, according to which a certain habituation becomes apparent, although the overall (self-reported) engagement appears to be influenced by educational policy decisions. The overall remarkably high self-assessment of the comprehensibility of the data feedback led to the further question to what extent this actually applies in educational practice. This was addressed in the research project "Learning the Science of Education" (Groß Ophoff et al., 2017), in which a test instrument was developed to assess educational research literacy as a crucial ability to purposefully access, reflect on, and use evidence from educational research. In addition, there is some evidence that German in-service teachers are less research literate than pre-service teachers (Kittel et al., ), and some of the results will be presented as well. Finally, the results are critically discussed against the background that last year Austria introduced a quality evaluation system comparable to Germany's (IKMPLUS, e.g. Jesacher-Rößler & Kemethofer, 2022; Sattlberger, 2020), replacing the old one (compulsory evaluation of educational standards every three years and voluntary self-evaluation). In particular, the question is whether sufficient lessons have been learned from the now extensive (international) body of knowledge at the level of educational policy.

About the speaker

Dr. Jana Groß Ophoff studied psychology at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Freiburg in Germany. She then worked at the Universities of Koblenz-Landau (PhD), Freiburg and Tübingen (Venia Legendi for Educational Science). Since February 2021 she is Professor of Educational Science at the University College of Education Vorarlberg in Austria. Her research focuses on evidence-based education and teacher professionalization (e.g. in the context of school practice or teaching as a second career). She is currently leading the projects "School Leadership Monitor Austria" and "Career Choice Considerations of Young People in Austria" funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. She is also a member of the Quality Board for the Austrian National Education Report 2024. Together with Prof. Dr. Chris Brown (Warwick University, UK) she initiated and leads the International Research Network (IRN) "Research-Informed Education" funded by the World Education Research Association (WERA).

Practical information

  • Date: 3 July 2023, 2:30 PM - 4 PM.
  • Location: Stadscampus, Het Brantijser, room  S.Sj.214 (campus map)
  • Participation is free, but please register by mail at