Impulses for knowledge


Nearly a third of the children currently starting school in Germany have immigrant roots.

Although this statistic should not imply that children with immigrant roots have a worse mastery of the German language than those children without immigrant roots, in practice this is quite often the assumption. These faulty assumptions can result in massive disadvantages not only for the children directly affected but also for the society they live in.  In order to address this problem with effective support programs, a clear analysis of the language skills of the individual children must be made.

The necessity for action has now been acknowledged and made a priority by the responsible parties at the state and federal level.  Without a clear idea of the language challenges and potentials of these children it is impossible to adequately determine either the need for funding or the possible progress achieved by the funding. The goal of this research project is to develop a procedure for testing the language level of children between the ages of four and five that delivers both precise results and ease of use.

After intensive preparation, the project was launched in November 2015 under the direction of Professor Jörg Roche of the University of Munich.

Research Team Leader:

  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Roche, LMU München

Online project page

Participating Researchers:

  • Prof. Dr. Heike Behrens, Universität Basel
  • Prof. Dr. Stefanie Haberzettl, Universität des Saarlandes
  • Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn, Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF)
  • Prof. Dr. Dirk Ifenthaler, Universität Mannheim
  • Moiken Jessen, Ph.D., LMU München
  • Natalia Kapica, M.A., Universität Heidelberg
  • Dr. Gabriele Kecker, TestDaF-Institut (Bochum)
  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Klein, Direktor am Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik (Nijmegen/Niederlande)
  • Dr. Karin Madlener, M.A., Universität Basel
  • Prof. Dr. Giulio Pagonis, Universität Heidelberg
  • Maike Schug, M.A., Universität des Saarlandes
  • Dr. Katrin Skoruppa, Universität Basel
  • Dr. Elisabetta Terrasi-Haufe, LMU München
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Thissen, Hochschule der Medien München
  • Dr. Nicole Weidinger, LMU München
  • Dr. Wolfgang Woerner, Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF)


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Ladenburger Kollegs

A Ladenburg Research Cluster represents one of the Foundation's primary research areas, in which academics from various disciplines as well as experts in the field work together.  In an exploratory phase, the provisional topic is examined carefully to determine whether it can be researched effectively in an interdisciplinary setting with the resources the Foundation has available.  As soon as a research cluster has been organized, a research proposal is developed which allows for participants to operate more or less autonomously.  At regularly scheduled meetings, the participating academics review the progress of the research and coordinate the individual projects which comprise the project.  Most research projects last three to five years, at which point the results are made public.