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Education and Skills

GESIS is a national and international player in educational research. In particular, the participation of GESIS in PIAAC - an international comparative study measuring cognitive abilities in adulthood - has contributed to the visibility of GESIS in this area of research: GESIS is part of the international consortium for the first cycle of PIAAC and was in charge of national project management for this study in Germany. GESIS is currently researching in numerous projects educational achievements in cognitive and non-cognitive competences as well as educational effects on the development of these competencies.

In the area of cognitive competences, PIAAC itself plays an important role as well as the longitudinal tracking of the German PIAAC sample in the context of PIAAC-L. The produced data make it possible i.a. to examine the comparability of competence measurement across different operationalizations, specifically between the survey instruments used in PIAAC and in the NEPS for the domains literacy / reading literacy and numeracy / (everyday) mathematical competences. Furthermore, PIAAC-L allows illuminating the stability and change of competences. Combining these PIAAC-L data with data from NEPS, a current project at GESIS is currently investigating precisely this stability and change in adult competencies. A second current project - also on a longitudinal basis from NEPS data - examines risk and protective factors for low literacy and numerality in adolescence and adulthood. Effects of cognitive competencies on economic and non-economic returns are being investigated within the framework of the PIAAC Leibniz Network.

In addition to cognitive competence measurement, over the last few years GESIS has expanded its focus in the field of educational income from non-cognitive skills. With numerous national and international projects and resulting publications our employees take part in this research topic. In two current projects, GESIS is examining the contribution of personality traits to educational and professional success. GESIS also advises the OECD on the development and validation of short scales to measure key non-cognitive skills in international large-scale education studies. GESIS thus plays a pioneering role both in terms of research into the educational income of non-cognitive competences and educational effects on their development, as well as with regard to methodological approaches to their collection, both nationally and internationally. This role is also reflected in the fact that GESIS has recently established a Leibniz Center of Competence on Educational Income of Non-Cognitive Competences, in which, together with five other institutions, it contributes to the gain of knowledge in this field and its communication to the scientific and educational public.

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    Umfangreiche Informationen und Datenzugang zum Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

  • Roth, Tobias, Klaus Pforr, Sandra Mingham, and Meike Selbach. 2022. "Do birth order effects on secondary school track placement differ between natives and migrants?: A within-family analysis in the German educational system." European Sociological Review 38 (3): 440-454. doi:
  • Bacaksizlar, N. Gizem. 2014. Modeling the Feedback Dynamics between Poverty and Education Opportunity.
  • Rammstedt, Beatrice, Clemens Lechner, and Bernd Weiß. 2022. "Does personality predict responses to the COVID-19 crisis?: Evidence from A prospective large-scale study." European Journal of Personality (36 (1)): 47-60. doi:
  • Siegert, Manuel, and Tobias Roth. 2020. "Das schulische Selbstkonzept von türkeistämmigen Neuntklässlern und Neuntklässlern ohne Migrationshintergrund." Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 72 (4): 627-650. doi:
  • Kretschmer, David, and Tobias Roth. 2021. "Why do friends have similar educational expectations?: Separating influence and selection effects." European Sociological Review 37 (2): 201–217.