Focusing on learning success

Berlin ranks at the bottom of almost all comparative studies on pupil performance, followed only by Bremen. With the "Fokus Schülerleistungen" project, the VBKI, together with the Senate Education Department, aims to help improve school quality in Berlin. In focus: pupil performance.

The Fokus Schülerleistungen project ties in with various measures and instruments used by the Senate Education Administration to improve school quality. These range from the school quality framework, school inspection and self-evaluation portal to the indicator model, the school contracts and the recommendations of the "Köller Commission", which are to be implemented with the help of a quality advisory board. Here, too, there is a clear focus on improving student performance.

The project is based on the assumption that schools and teachers taking responsibility for student performance also contributes to their results. Effective factors are, for example, expectations of pupils' performance and confidence in their skills. Schools receive a great deal of information about the performance of their pupils. Is this information used in a targeted manner? Is it being used to work on improving student performance? Which attitudes and procedures promote and which hinder targeted work towards this goal using the available feedback on student performance?

The aim is to raise performance standards at school and, if possible, motivate imitators for the pilot project. The focus here is clearly on pupils' success at school, their performance and their qualifications. As a result, the schools involved in the project are expected to learn to analyze the learning success of their students and take measures to improve their performance.

The "Focus on pupil performance" project attempts to develop and influence attitudes and procedures that support schools (specifically school management) in processing information about pupil performance and learning success and, where possible, achieving improvements in performance.

Project architecture

The VBKI is carrying out the project together with the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family. School principals (including extended ones) and companies enter into a moderated dialog about how the quality of their facilities and their results can be improved. Participation by schools is voluntary in all cases. The project is managed by a joint core group consisting of representatives of the VBKI and the SenBJF.

Step 1

Workshop discussions

In a first step, four and then ten schools exchanged ideas with one or two companies about how they deal with their own development. In this first phase, the following key questions were addressed in four workshop discussions:

What culture of accountability for one's own work exists in the school/company?

How do schools/companies deal with data on the success of their institution? What are the key parameters for the success of a school/company?

How do schools process the information on school-leaving qualifications, student performance reported to them in comparative tests, transition figures of students to further education, figures on school distance (absenteeism), etc.?

How is the necessary information generated and processed in the company? In what form is this discussed with pupils, parents, colleagues, official bodies or in the company: with which employees?

Is it possible to communicate openly about errors or weaknesses in the organization?

Are there steering groups or persons responsible for quality development? Are strategies developed to improve the work? Are there target agreements or training recommendations?

How are conclusions drawn?

Are there any insights from these workshop discussions that could lead to a different culture of responsibility?

Step 2

Working meetings of the schools between the workshop discussions

In a second step, schools worked on these key questions for themselves with the support of companies and documented process results, particularly on the last two questions.

Step 3

Educational salon

In a third step, a "Pedagogical Salon" was held jointly by the VBKI and the SenBJF. The responsible school inspectors and the Institute for School Quality Berlin-Brandenburg (ISQ) were invited to the schools. Based on the above-mentioned questions, the focus was on leadership and responsibility structures and how the learning success of pupils in each individual institution can be made a central concern. 

After the pandemic-related break, seven schools are still involved in the project, supported by eleven company representatives.



By the end of 2022, seven more schools should be included and incorporated into the procedures if possible. These schools can be used as multipliers by the SenBJF. The Pedagogical Salon will be set up once a year by the VBKI and the Senate Administration in order to provide long-term support for the quality development of Berlin schools.

Contact persons:


Hannelore Trageser


Sybille Volkholz