Interfaculty Centre for Educational Research (ICER)


The Interfaculty Centre for Educational Research (ICER) was founded in 2018 by the Faculty of Human Sciences and the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Bern.

The overarching goal of ICER is to promote empirical scientific findings in educational research across all educational levels and with a perspective on the entire course of life.  In this context, ICER is characterized by inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration between different disciplines and educational policy.

The challenge facing educational researchers is to find reliable, theory-based answers to the question of how learning can be supported in a targeted manner in schools. Both proximal and distal factors as well as their interaction must be taken into account. To further develop educational systems and to improve teaching and learning in schools and beyond, it is necessary to approach this challenge in an interdisciplinary way, from various scientific perspectives. Accordingly, the ICER unites expertise from various disciplines concerned with teaching and learning in schools.

Another challenge is to ensure that the results can be used beyond the level of educational science. ICER supports educational policy by processing, presenting, and classifying the empirically generated data so that the results can be incorporated into educational policy discussions. In this way, the scientifically developed empirical findings can be used in a transdisciplinary manner, which serves the further development not only of the school system, but also of school and teaching practice.

The interdisciplinary educational research conducted at the ICER therefore aims to have a transdisciplinary effect.

Large-Scale Assessments (LSA) im Schulbereich sind breit angelegte Überprüfungen der von den Schülerinnen und Schüler (SuS) erworbenen Kompetenzen. LSA erlauben den Vergleich der Effektivität von Bildungssystemen sowohl zwischen Ländern und Kantonen als auch im Zeitverlauf. Sie stellen damit einen wichtigen Pfeiler des nationalen Bildungsmonitorings dar.

In internationalen Vergleichsstudien können diese Kompetenzen verglichen und im Zusammenhang mit den unterschiedlichen Bedingungen in den verschiedenen Schulsystemen beurteilt werden. Die in vielen Ländern etablierten nationalen LSA erlauben zudem eine Evaluation der curricularen Kompetenzen und damit eine Anknüpfung an die nationalen Bildungsziele. Dabei lassen sich auch die jeweiligen Besonderheiten des Bildungssystems adäquat berücksichtigen.

Bestandteil des Schweizer Bildungsmonitorings ist einerseits das Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), eine internationale Kompetenzstudie der OECD , sowie die Überprüfung der Grundkompetenzen (ÜGK) als nationale Leistungsstudie. Der Auftrag des ICER im Rahmen dieser beiden Projekte liegt u.a. darin, deren Durchführung schweizweit zu koordinieren.

Weiter umfasst der Auftrag des ICER, die Qualität der Daten aus den Projekten PISA und ÜGK sicherzustellen und diese durch eine entsprechende Aufbereitung, Darstellung und Einordnung auf der Ebene der Bildungspolitik interpretierbar und für das Bildungsmonitoring nutzbar zu machen. In diesem Zusammenhang leistet das ICER einen Beitrag zur Bearbeitung von inter- und transdisziplinär angelegten bildungswissenschaftlichen Fragestellungen im Rahmen des nationalen Bildungsmonitoring.

Im Rahmen des nationalen Bildungsmonitorings stehen am ICER auch Projekte an, welche die Prozesse der Planung und der Durchführung der LSA weiterzuentwickeln und zu optimieren. Ein Beispiel stellt die Entwicklung eines Moduls für das Stichprobenmanagement bei Schweizer Large-Scale-Assessments zur Vereinfachung der Stichprobenziehung für LSA in der Schweiz sowie zur Reduzierung der damit in Zusammenhang stehenden Arbeitslast für die Kantone und die Schulen dar.

Ein anderes Beispiel ist die Prüfung der Prozesse sowie der Qualität der Verknüpfung der ÜGK-Daten mit Registerdaten für eine allfällige zukünftige Nutzung der Verknüpfung bei der ÜGK.

As broad-based surveys of student competencies, large-scale assessments (LSA) in schooling provide comparisons of the effectiveness of education systems both across countries and cantons and over time. They thus represent an important pillar of education monitoring. Furthermore, they provide an interesting data basis for basic research in various disciplines as well as for applied research projects at universities of applied sciences and full universities. These are data from the standardised achievement tests and from the standardised contextual questionnaires used in each case (e.g., at the level of students or at the level of schools) that adequately represent the respective target population.

The ICER contributes to the research infrastructure by coordinating the contextualization of the LSA at a national level. In this context, the development and translation of the contextual questionnaires is done in cooperation with different institutions from all language regions of Switzerland, which allows for consideration of different interests from different disciplines in terms of content.

Furthermore, ICER's mission is to process the data from the Swiss LSA for the analysis of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary questions in educational science and to make them available to the entire research community. In this way, ICER contributes to the national and international research infrastructure. The national data from PISA and ÜGK are made available on SWISSUbase after their publication, which supports their integration into the national and international research infrastructure.

The ICER also links to the LSA data in its own research projects. One example of this is the project to link data from the 2016 ÜGK and the 2017 ÜGK with register data.

Based on the expertise available at the ICER in dealing with educational issues, it supports interested partners within and outside the university in corresponding projects. In this context, basic, supra-regional and internationally significant research-based services and transfer services are provided on the basis of analyses of existing data. In cooperation with the project partners, demand-oriented questions are developed and analysed. One example of this is the in-depth analysis of ÜGK data from the 2016 surveys for various cantons.

To address educational issues, ICER raises external funding for its own interdisciplinary research projects in educational research across all levels of education and with a perspective on the entire course of life. Examples include the PIONEERED project funded by the EU as a Horizon 2020 project, the DigiPrim project as part of the BeLEARN initiative of the Canton of Bern, and the Career Tracker Cohorts project commissioned by the SNSF.