Welcome to BiKS!

When do children learn what? How do kindergarten, school and the home environment influence learning? On which factors do parents base their choice of primary and secondary schools? These are the central questions that we – the researchers at Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg – want to answer. BiKS stands for "Bildungsprozesse, Kompetenzentwicklung und Selektionsentscheidungen im Vor- und Grundschulalter" (educational processes, competence development and selection decisions in preschool- and school age) and consists of a team of academics from the areas education, psychology and sociology. In March 2005 the BiKS project started. The study is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The background of the BiKS-Study

The international school achievement studies of the past few years showed that the achievements of some pupils are not as good as we had expected and wished. Further information is necessary to provide improved learning-conditions for our children. The ideal conditions for promoting children’s linguistic and cognitive development have not been explored sufficiently. Moreover little is known about the decision-making process concerning school enrolment and, later on, choosing the right secondary school. Therefore we will follow the development of a group of randomly selected children over a longer period of time.

Three longitudinal studies

Since 2005 (funded by the Geman Research Foundation) the research group BiKS accompanied almost 4.000 children on their educational process in two longitudinal studies, BiKS-3-10 and BiKS-8-14. Eight projects and an interdisciplinary team worked on exiting topics of competence development, educational choices, and the impact of different learning environments.

Between 2014 and 2018 both longitudinal studies were continuing as several DFG-projects under the name of BiKSplus [3-13] and BiKSplus [8-18]. Further information beneath.

Since 2019 the project is continuing (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research). The aim of the new study BiKSplus_3-18 is to highlight the long-term importance of the quality of early childhood education in preschool and family and of early childhood competence development for educational and life success in early adulthood and to gain more insights into possible explanatory mechanisms (e.g., accumulation of learning experiences over the lifespan) in this context. In order to investigate this question, those parents and their children, who have so far taken part in previous data collection points, are again asked to participate in this study.

Further information you can find here.

In autumn 2005, data collection for the longitudinal study, called BiKS-3-10, began with a starting sample of 550 children in 97 preschools in Bavaria and Hesse. On a regular basis these children were tested for language and cognitive development, and their teachers were interviewed about the situation in the preschools. In addition, selected parents were interviewed about their children and the upcoming educational choices in a personal interview. Most of the participating children were enrolled in the school year 2008/2009 and followed up to the end of primary school (4th grade). With school enrollment began a new phase of the project in which elementary school teachers and in selected classes classmates were included in the study. Thus, our sample could be extended to approximately 1,000 children. In the school year 2012/2013, most of the participating children made the transition into a secondary school. From now on, these children are followed on their individual educational trajectories no longer in the classroom, but individually as part of BiKSplus [3-13].

More information about BiKSplus [3-13] can be found here (in German).

Since autumn 2005 2,395 children from 155 primary schools in Bavaria and Hesse have been part of BiKS-8-14. These children were in 3rd grade at the beginning of the BiKS study. The majority of the participating children moved on to secondary school in the summer of 2007. These children and their families were followed until the end of 9th grade. In addition to the regular collection of competencies of the participating children, their parents and their teachers were interviewed. The focus of interest is on the different developmental trajectories of children in elementary and secondary schools. While some of the students transitioned into the vocational education system in the school year 2012/2013, another part of the sample stayed in the general school system. From that moment on, these young people have been accompanied individuallyin the context of BiKSplus [8-18] on their way towards college, vocational training, and the labor market.

More information about BiKSplus [8-18] can be found here.