Determining the Language Skills of Children with Immigrant Roots


Nearly a third of the children currently starting school in Germany have immigrant roots. This funded project develops software especially for tablet computers that enables data regarding the language competence levels of individual children to be collected both practically and reliably.
Various studies have shown that assessment methods used to date often do not reflect children’s actual ability to express themselves in German. The app developed in this Ladenburg Research Cluster allows nursery school and childcare specialists to determine where support is needed, in a playful setting and without test scenarios that could falsify the situation. In this way, possible disadvantages can be eliminated and supportive measures initiated for the later course of children’s lives. The new testing method has met with great interest on a national and international scale.

Project management:
Prof. Dr. Jörg Roche, LMU Munich
Dr. Nicole Weidinger, LMU Munich (coordinator)

Participating scientists:
Prof. Dr. Heike Behrens, University of Basel
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Haberzettl, Saarland University
Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn, Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF)
Prof. Dr. Dirk Ifenthaler, University of Mannheim
Dr. Gabriele Kecker, TestDaF Institute (Bochum)
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Klein, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen/Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Giulio Pagonis, Heidelberg University
Prof. Dr. Frank Thissen, HMKW, University of Applied Sciences (Munich)
Dr. Wolfgang Woerner, Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF)  

Homepage of the project team


The research carried out by Prof. Dr. Jörg Roche and his team has been honored by the “Wirkung hoch 100” anniversary initiative of the donors’ association Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. The initiative brings 100 outstanding ideas for better education, science, and innovation together with experts and partners. In a multistage process, the project “Language proficiency diagnosis prior to school admission – Serious games and automatic language processing” has been financially supported by the initiative since November 2020 and accompanied by a wide range of coaching offers. The Daimler and Benz Foundation already initiated a research project six years ago on the topic of determining states of language proficiency (see text above), the results of which were incorporated into the application.