In our research we focus on the individual, social and institutional determinants of learning processes. Some of our key research questions include:

Main Research Fields

Educational Effectiveness

  • What are the origins of social disparities in education?
  • Do schools constitute differential development environments?
  • Do universities constitute differential development environments?


The motivation of students is crucial for their success and well-being in school (and thus also the scientific research of the causes and consequences of high and low motivation).

The Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Pschology focuses its research on the convictions of ability and value in the context of performance on two particularly central sets of variables. The theoretical basis for this is the so-called expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation by Jacquelynne Eccles. According to this model, performance-oriented behaviour is influenced by the expectation of success or the self-concept of ability ("Can I do it?") and the subjective perception of values ("Do I want to do this task and why?") in relation to a task. On the other hand, our research is based on the Big Fish Little Pond Effect Model and the Internal/External Frame of Reference Model by Herbert Marsh, which identify important factors in the genesis of ability convictions.

In the project Motivation in Mathematics (MoMa), we examine how motivation in mathematics can be promoted among 9th grade students.


  • What influence do contextual factors have on personality development?
  • Of what significance is the interaction of personality and contextual factors for the prediction of behavior?
  • What is the general structure of human personality?

Talent development and giftedness

According to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in Germany, there is a need to improve the promotion of high-performing and potentially high-performing students. In cooperation with the DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education, the scientists at the Hector Research Institute are investigating in several studies how this can already be achieved in primary schools.

Teaching quality and professional competence of teachers

  • How can the quality of teaching be accurately assessed?
  • Which features of teaching determine educational success?
  • What role does the professional competence of teachers play for the quality of teaching?

We pursue an evidence-based, integrated research approach with a focus on international exchange. We believe that the quality of educational processes and policies needs to be validated empirically. In all our studies, we utilize the most reliable and valid statistical methods in educational research and regularly present our findings to the international community at conferences and in journals leading the fields of education and psychology. Furthermore, we aim to expand our engagement in the international research community through collaboration and partnership using an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, we collaborate with researchers and colleagues from the fields of psychology and educational sciences as well as mathematics, linguistics, statistics, economics and sports sciences.