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Research programme Educational Sciences

Research Institute of Child Development and Education

The aim of the Educational Sciences research programme is to understand how education contributes to the development of cognitive and social-emotional skills and to design and test methods that enhance this development. Both normal and abnormal development are studied.

We focus on instruction and learning processes in a number of domains that are at the core of the curriculum in primary and secondary education and on factors at the micro, meso and macro level that are essential for the quality of these processes. Factors at the micro level include student characteristics (sociocultural background, gender, aptitude, self-regulation, motivation), and the pupil-teacher relationship. At the meso level we study the effect of school leaderschip on educational innovation. Typical macro issues include equal opportunities in relation to segregation, selection procedures, and school drop-out. The combination of micro, meso, and macro levels of research is a distinctive characteristic of the Education programme as a whole. Research lines in the Education programme are:

  • Cultural and individual differences, social outcomes
  • Instruction, learning processes and learning disorders
  • Domain-specific learning (e.g. literacy, history, arts, mathematics, science). 
  • Innovation in education
  • Motivation and learning
  • Philosophy of education, school segregation
  • Student-teacher relationship
  • Vocational education, educational policy

Research groups in this research programma are:

  • Educational Sciences

    This research group investigates the impact of educational policy, school organization and learning environments on the quality of teaching-learning processes. Societal, organizational, instructional and pedagogical factors contributing to the active participation of students and teachers in learning processes, school and society are studied. For example ‘how can teachers enhance student engagement and motivation?’, ‘how can educational policy contribute to the opportunities to participate of vulnerable groups?’

    Research projects concern issues such as school segregation, diversity, drop-out, self-regulation and motivation, citizenship education and identity development, new media.

    The research of the educational sciences research group often entails an intervention, or development/design component. It is carried out in close collaboration with teachers, school leaders and school boards and aims at building bridges between educational theory and practice.

    prof. dr. M.L.L. (Monique) Volman

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Educational Sciences

  • Domain Specific Learning

    This research group studies learning and teaching from a domain-specific perspective. Questions concern learning and instruction of literacy, reasoning and creativity. These issues are studied in various school subjects or domains, varying from math to language education, and arts to history, biology and classical languages. In process studies we examine how students learn and how the quality of learning relates to student characteristics (e.g. interest, prior knowledge). In design research and intervention studies we study the effects of domain-specific instruction strategies, often combined with cross-domain methods on domain specific outcomes and thinking skills. Foci of research are effects of collaborative learning, observational learning and explicit teaching. Furthermore, the focus is on implications for professional development of teachers.

    prof. dr. C.A.M. (Carla) van Boxtel

    Faculty of Humanities

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Developmental Disorders and Special Education

    The research group conducts theoretically based empirical research to examine the underlying processes of cognitive and social emotional skills acquisition in the context of school and how these are affected by instruction and teacher skills.

    The main lines of research are:

    • Development of language, literacy and arithmetic with a particular focus on learning disabilities
    • Teacher-student interaction and relationships, in particular for SEN student
    prof. dr. P.F. (Peter) de Jong

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Developmental Disorders and Special Education

  • Methods and Statistics

    The methods and statistics group conducts psychometric research into measurement and measurement bias in CDE research, and into the application of latent variable models in CDE research. In addition, the group supports and participates in the research of the other research groups.

    Two examples of research questions:

    • Do observed differences in test scores represent true differences between children?
    • How to apply (standard) statistical models to (non-standard) CDE data?
    prof. dr. F.J. (Frans) Oort

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Methods and statistics

PhD Projects