Transformation of the secondary school system and academic careers (TOSCA)

The project “Transformation of the secondary school system and academic careers“ (TOSCA) examines the affordances and constraints of the upper secondary school system in selected German states as well as the transition from secondary school into university and vocational training. Furthermore, TOSCA analyzes the interplay of individual, social, and institutional factors for human development in academic and non-academic domains.

TOSCA is a multi-cohort study and includes longitudinal data for some cohorts. A broad spectrum of achievement test data as well as psycho-social variables are available for all TOSCA cohorts. Analyses of TOSCA data have been incorporated into a large number of publications on different topics, including analyses of educational effectiveness, investigations of the effects of social background on educational success, analyses of the role of motivation in various settings, and selection/socialization effects with regard to personality traits.

TOSCA at a glance

Papers and book chapters based on the TOSCA Data

Cambria, J., Brandt, H., Nagengast, B., & Trautwein, U. (2017). Frame of Reference effects on values in mathematics: Evidence from German secondary school students. ZDM, 49(3), 435-447.

Chow, P. I., Wagner, J., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). Therapy experience in naturalistic observational studies is associated with negative changes in personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 68, 88-95.

Grosz, M. P., Göllner, R., Rose, N., Spengler, M., Trautwein, U., Rauthmann, J. F., ... & Roberts, B. W. (2017). The Development of Narcissistic Admiration and Machiavellianism in Early Adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication.

Hübner, N., Wille, E., Cambria, J., Oschatz, K., Nagengast, B., & Trautwein, U. (2017). Maximizing gender equality by minimizing course choice options? Effects of obligatory coursework in math on gender differences in STEM. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(7), 993-1009.

Lechner, C. M., Sortheix, F. M., Göllner, R., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2017). The development of work values during the transition to adulthood: A two-country study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 99, 52-65.

Stoll, G., Rieger, S., Lüdtke, O., Nagengast, B., Trautwein, U., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). Vocational interests assessed at the end of high school predict life outcomes assessed 10 years later over and above IQ and Big Five personality traits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113(1), 167- 184.


Hill, P. L., Jackson, J. J., Nagy, N., Nagy, G., Roberts, B. W., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2016). Majoring in selection, and minoring in socialization: The role of the college experience in goal change post–high school. Journal of Personality, 84(2), 194-203.

Rieger, S., Göllner, R., Trautwein, U., & Roberts, B. W. (2016). Low self-esteem prospectively predicts depression in the transition to young adulthood: A replication of Orth, Robins, and Roberts (2008). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110(1), e16-e22.

Volodina, A., & Nagy, G. (2016). Vocational choices in adolescence: The role of gender, school achievement, self-concepts, and vocational interests. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 95, 58-73.

Wagner, J., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2016). Self‐esteem is mostly stable across young adulthood: Evidence from latent STARTS models. Journal of Personality, 84(4), 523-535.

Wetzel, E., Lüdtke, O., Zettler, I., & Böhnke, J. R. (2016). The stability of extreme response style and acquiescence over 8 years. Assessment, 23(3), 279-291.

Roloff Henoch, J., Klusmann, U., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2015a). Who becomes a teacher? Challenging the “negative selection” hypothesis. Learning and Instruction, 36, 46-56.

Roloff Henoch, J., Klusmann, U., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2015b). Die Entwicklung beruflicher Selbst-regulation: Ein Vergleich zwischen angehenden Lehrkräften und anderen Studierenden [The development of occupational self-regulation: A comparison of teacher students with other students]. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 29(3-4), 151-162.

Wagner, J., Becker, M., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2015). The first partnership experience and personality development: A propensity score matching study in young adulthood. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6(4), 455-463.

Jonkmann, K., Thoemmes, F., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2014). Personality traits and living arrangements in young adulthood: Selection and socialization. Developmental Psychology, 50(3), 683-698.

Parker, P., Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2014). Predicting career aspirations and university majors from academic ability and self-concept: a longitudinal application of the internal–external frame of reference model. In I. Schoon & J. S. Eccles (Eds.), Gender differences in aspirations and attainment: A life course perspective (pp. 224-246). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Vasalampi, K., Parker, P., Tolvanen, A., Lüdtke, O., Salmela-Aro, K., & Trautwein, U. (2014). Integration of personality constructs: The role of traits and motivation in the willingness to exert effort in academic and social life domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 48, 98-106.

Wagner, J., Lüdtke, O., Roberts, B. W., & Trautwein, U. (2014). Who belongs to me? Social relationship and personality characteristics in the transition to young adulthood. European Journal of Personality, 28(6), 586-603.

Wagner, W., Rose, N., Dicke, A. L., Neumann, M., & Trautwein, U. (2014). Alle alles lehren–Schulleistungen in Englisch, Mathematik und den Naturwissenschaften vor und nach der Neuordnung der gymnasialen Oberstufe in Sachsen [Teaching everyone everything: Student achievement in English, mathematics, and the natural sciences before and after Saxony’s upper secondary school reform]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 17(2), 345-369.

Litalien, D., Lüdtke, O., Parker, P., & Trautwein, U. (2013). Different pathways, same effects: Autonomous goal regulation is associated with subjective well-being during the post-school transition. Motivation and Emotion, 37(3), 444-456.

Parker, P. D., Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2013). Differential school contextual effects for math and English: Integrating the big-fish-little-pond effect and the internal/external frame of reference. Learning and Instruction, 23, 78-89.

Vock, M., Köller, O., & Nagy, G. (2013). Vocational interests of intellectually gifted and highly achieving young adults. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(2), 305-328.

Wagner, J., Lüdtke, O., Jonkmann, K., & Trautwein, U. (2013). Cherish yourself: Longitudinal patterns and conditions of self-esteem change in the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(1), 148-163.

Zettler, I., Kramer, J., Thoemmes, F., Nagy, G., & Trautwein, U. (2013). Welchen Einfluss hat der Besuch unterschiedlicher Hochschultypen auf den frühen beruflichen Erfolg? Eine explorative Untersuchung [Different types of universities and early career success: An exploratory investigation]. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 27(1-2), 51-62.


Jackson, J. J., Thoemmes, F., Jonkmann, K., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2012). Military training and personality trait development: Does the military make the man, or does the man make the military?. Psychological Science, 23(3), 270-277.

Jonkmann, K., Becker, M., Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2012). Personality traits moderate the big-fish–little-pond effect of academic self-concept. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(6), 736-746.
Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., & Maaz, K. (2012). Fähigkeits-und Interessenprofile am Ende der Sekundarstufe I: Struktur, Spezifikation und der Zusammenhang mit Gymnasialzweigwahlen. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 26(2), 79-99.

Parker, P. D., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Roberts, B. W. (2012). Personality and relationship quality during the transition from high school to early adulthood. Journal of Personality, 80(4), 1061-1089.

Parker, P. D., Schoon, I., Tsai, Y. M., Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., & Eccles, J. S. (2012). Achievement, agency, gender, and socioeconomic background as predictors of postschool choices: A multicontext study. Developmental Psychology, 48(6), 1629-1642.


Kramer, J., Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Jonkmann, K., Maaz, K., & Treptow, R. (2011). Die Klasse an die Universität, die Masse an die anderen Hochschulen? [High class students in the universities, the rest in the other institutions of higher education]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14(3), 465-487.

Lüdtke, O., Roberts, B. W., Trautwein, U., & Nagy, G. (2011). A random walk down university avenue: life paths, life events, and personality trait change at the transition to university life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(3), 620-637.

Neumann, M., Trautwein, U., & Nagy, G. (2011). Do central examinations lead to greater grading comparability? A study of frame-of-reference effects on the University entrance qualification in Germany. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 37(4), 206-217.

Trautwein, U., Nagy, G., & Maaz, K. (2011). Soziale Disparitäten und die Öffnung des Sekundarschulsystems [Social disparities and the opening of the secondary school system in Germany]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14(3), 445-463.

Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., Muthén, B., Asparouhov, T., Morin, A. J., Trautwein, U., & Nagengast, B. (2010). A new look at the big five factor structure through exploratory structural equation modeling. Psychological Assessment, 22(3), 471-491.

Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2010). The structure of vocational interests in Germany: Different methodologies, different conclusions. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 76(2), 153-169.


Klusmann, U., Trautwein, U., Luedtke, O., Kunter, M., & Baumert, J. (2009). Eingangsvoraussetzungen beim Studienbeginn: Werden die Lehramtskandidaten unterschätzt? [Cognitive and psychosocial characteristics upon entry into teacher training: Are teacher candidates underestimated?]. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 23(3-4), 265-278.

Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Husemann, N. (2009). Goal and personality trait development in a transitional period: Assessing change and stability in personality development. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(4), 428-441.

Maaz, K., Trautwein, U., Gresch, C., Lüdtke, O., & Watermann, R. (2009). Intercoder-Reliabilität bei der Berufscodierung nach der ISCO-88 und Validität des sozioökonomischen Status [Intercoder-reliability for coding occupations according to ISCO-88 and the validity of socio-economic status]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 12(2), 281-301.

Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Morin, A. J. (2009). Classical latent profile analysis of academic self-concept dimensions: Synergy of person-and variable-centered approaches to theoretical models of self-concept. Structural Equation Modeling, 16(2), 191-225.

Marsh, H. W., Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U., Asparouhov, T., Muthén, B., & Nagengast, B. (2009). Doubly-latent models of school contextual effects: Integrating multilevel and structural equation approaches to control measurement and sampling error. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 44(6), 764-802.

Neumann, M., Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2009). Vergleichbarkeit von Abiturleistungen [Cross-state comparability of the abitur qualification in Germany]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 12(4), 691-714.

Roberts, B. W., Jackson, J. J., Burger, J., & Trautwein, U. (2009). Conscientiousness and externalizing psychopathology: Overlap, developmental patterns, and etiology of two related constructs. Development and Psychopathology, 21(3), 871-888.


Trautwein, U. & Lüdtke, O. (2008) Global Certainty Beliefs and College Major: how strong are socialization effects? In M.S. Khine (Ed.), Knowing, knowledge and beliefs: Epistemological studies across diverse cultures (pp. 241-255). Berlin, Germany: Springer.


Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U., & Köller, O. (2007). Umgang mit fehlenden Werten in der psychologischen Forschung [Handling of missing data in psychological research: Problems and solutions]. Psychologische Rundschau, 58(2), 103-117.

Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U., Kreuter, F., & Ihme, J. M. (2007). Are There Test Administrator Effects in Large-Scale Educational Assessments?. Methodology, 3(4), 149-159.

Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2007). Aggregating to the between-person level in idiographic research designs: Personal goal research as an example of the need to distinguish between reliability and homogeneity. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(1), 230-238.

Maaz, K., & Watermann, R. (2007). Reproduktion oder Mobilität? Zur Wirkung familiärer Prozessmerkmale auf die Studienintention am Ende der gymnasialen Oberstufe [Reproduction or mobility? The effects of family process variables on intentions to enter higher education]. Zeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation, 27(3), 285-303.

Marsh, H. W., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Baumert, J., & Köller, O. (2007). The big-fish-little-pond effect: Persistent negative effects of selective high schools on self-concept after graduation. American Educational Research Journal, 44(3), 631-669.

Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2007). Epistemological beliefs, school achievement, and college major: A large-scale longitudinal study on the impact of certainty beliefs. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 32(3), 348-366.


Maaz, K. (2006). Soziale Herkunft und Hochschulzugang. Effekte institutioneller Öffnung im Bildungssystem [Social background and access to higher education. Effects of institutional opening in the education system]. Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Maaz, K. & Watermann, R. (2006). Soziale Disparitäten im Bildungssystem im Spannungsfeld zwischen traditioneller Dreigliedrigkeit und institutionellen Erweiterungen [Social disparities in the education system in the field of tension between traditional trinomiality and institutional extensions]. In K.-S. Rehberg (Ed.), Soziale Ungleichheit - Kulturelle Unterschiede, Verhandlungen des 32. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in München 2004 (pp. 2610-2620). Germany, Frankfurt: Campus.

Marsh, H. W., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Köller, O., & Baumert, J. (2006). Integration of multidimensional self‐concept and core personality constructs: Construct validation and relations to well‐being and achievement. Journal of Personality, 74(2), 403-456.


Klusmann, U., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2005). Intrinsische und extrinsische Lebensziele [Intrinsic and extrinsic personal goals: Reliability and validity of a German translation of the Aspirations Index]. Diagnostica, 51(1), 40-51.

Schwanzer, A. D., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., & Sydow, H. (2005). Entwicklung eines Instruments zur Erfassung des Selbstkonzepts junger Erwachsener [Development of a questionnaire on young adults’ self-concept]. Diagnostica, 51(4), 183-194.


Köller, O., Baumert, J., Cortina, K. S., Trautwein, U., & Watermann, R. (2004). Öffnung von Bildungswegen in der Sekundarstufe II und die Wahrung von Standards. Analysen am Beispiel der Englischleistungen von Oberstufenschülern an integrierten Gesamtschulen, beruflichen und allgemein bildenden Gymnasien [Consequences of the opening of the upper secondary school system. Analyses of English achievement in different types of upper secondary schools]. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 50(5), 679-700.

Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., Nagy, G., & Köller, O. (2004). Eine Validierungsstudie zum NEO-FFI in einer Stichprobe junger Erwachsener [A validation of the NEO-FFI in a sample of young adults: Effects of the response format, factorial validity, and relations with indicators of academic achievement]. Diagnostica, 50(3), 134-144.

Maaz, K., Nagy, G., Trautwein, U., Watermann, R., & Köller, O. (2004). Institutionelle Öffnung trotz bestehender Dreigliedrigkeit. Auswirkungen auf Bildungsbeteiligung, schulische Kompetenzen und Berufsaspirationen [Establishment of new educational pathways within the three-tier system. Effects on educational participation, scholastic competencies and occupational aspirations]. ZSE: Zeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation, 24(2), 146-165.

Reviews of TOSCA Data and Studies

Kramer, J., & Trautwein, U. (2016). Hochschultypen als differenzielle Lern-und Entwicklungsmilieus? [Types of tertiary education as different learning and developmental environments?]. In J. Kramer, M. Neumann, & U. Trautwein (Eds.), Abitur und Matura im Wandel (pp. 189-214). Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Watermann, R., Daniel, A., & Maaz, K. (2014). Primäre und sekundäre Disparitäten des Hochschulzugangs: Erklärungsmodelle, Datengrundlagen und Entwicklungen [Primary and secondary disparities in access to higher education: Explanatory models, database and development]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 17(2), 233-261.

Neumann, M., & Trautwein, U. (2013). Schulleistungen und wissenschaftspropädeutische Bildung in der gymnasialen Oberstufe: Zentrale Befunde aus dem TOSCA-Projekt [School performance and science propedeutics in the upper secondary gymanisum: Key findings from the TOSCA project]. In J. Asdonk, S. U. Kuhnen, S., & P. Bornkessel (Eds.), Von der Schule zur Hochschule: Analysen, Konzeptionen und Gestaltungsperspektiven des Übergangs (pp. 129-146). Münster, Germany: Waxmann Verlag.

Neumann, M., Trautwein, U., & Baumert, J. (2012). Die Neuordnung der gymnasialen Oberstufe aus empirischer Perspektive: Hintergründe, Befunde und steuerungsrelevante Implikationen der TOSCA-Repeat-Studie [The restructuring of the secondary upper gymnasium from an empirical perspective: Background, findings, and implications of the TOSCA-Repeat study] . In A. Wacker, U. Maier, & W. Wissinger (Eds.), Schul-und Unterrichtsreform durch ergebnisorientierte Steuerung (pp. 277-301), Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Wagner, W., Kramer, J., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., Nagy, G., Jonkmann, K., ... & Schilling, J. (2011). Die gymnasiale Oberstufe und der Übergang von der Schule in den tertiären Bildungsbereich und den Arbeitsmarkt [Upper secondary education in academic school tracks and the transition from school to postsecondary education and the job market]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14(2), 233-249.

Trautwein, U., Neumann, M., Nagy, G., Lüdtke, O., & Maaz, K. (Eds.). (2010). Schulleistungen von Abiturienten: Die neu geordnete gymnasiale Oberstufe auf dem Prüfstand [School performance of high-school graduates: Testing the new ordered upper school]. Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Baumert, J., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., & Brunner, M. (2009). Large-scale student assessment studies measure the results of processes of knowledge acquisition: Evidence in support of the distinction between intelligence and student achievement. Educational Research Review, 4(3), 165-176.

Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., & Husemann, N. (2006). Die Qualität der Studienvorbereitung in der gymnasialen Oberstufe: Eine Längsschnittstudie mit Absolventen von allgemeinbildenden und beruflichen Gymnasien [Perceived quality of preparation for higher education: A longitudinal study with graduates of traditional and vocational gymnasium schools]. In A. Ittel, L. Stecher, H. Merkens, & J. Zinnecker (Eds.), Jahrbuch Jugendforschung (pp. 47-67). Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Köller, O., Watermann, R., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (Eds.). (2004). Wege zur Hochschulreife in Baden-Württemberg. TOSCA—Eine Untersuchung an allgemein bildenden und beruflichen Gymnasien [Educational pathways to college in Baden-Württemberg: TOSCA—a study of traditional and vocational gymnasium schools]. Opladen, Germany: Leske & Budrich.