Research Initiative ESF
The research initiative "Developmental Disorders of Scholastic Skills" (Entwicklungsstörungen schulischer Fähigkeiten - ESF) is a programme, set in place by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung - BMBF), to promote empiric educational research.
This research initiative supports empirically orientated research-projects that contribute to giving children, adolescents and adults who are affected by disorders in the area of reading, spelling and calculating, an individual, cause-related diagnosis and an evidence-based support.
In the first funding period (2010-2013), there were twelve projects involved nationwide. In the current second funding period (2014-2017) the BMBF supports eight projects.
The coordinating body ESF provides the organisational and technical conditions for professional communication and collaboration between the funded projects in the area of "cause-related individual diagnosis and intervention for specific developmental disorders of scholastic skills" in the context of the initiative of the BMBF to promote empirical educational research.
The coordination center of the BMBF research focus „Development Disorders of Scholastic Skills“ (Entwicklungsstörungen schulischer Fertigkeiten - ESF) was implemented in april 2011 at the LMU Munich (Prof. Gerd Schulte-Körne) and at the DIPF in Frankfurt (Prof. Marcus Hasselhorn.
The coordination center pursues five key goals
National and international networking
Annual meetings - where each project presents its current state of research, findings and results - are organised in order to promote networking amongst the projects.
Furthermore an international symposium is organised with leading scientists in the field to make the projects familiar with similar international projects.
Promotion of early stage researchers
Early Stage Researchers meetings are organised regularly with workshops for graduates and postdocs.
The ESF brochure summarizes the research results of the pojects and can be ordered here. Current research results are presented at scientific and practical events and published in scientific journals regularly. In order to reach the general public , the coordination centre is in contact with the media. The coordinating body seeks regular contact with political stakeholders as well as opinion leaders and works with practice representatives and interest groups.
Documentation of the obtained research data
The coordinating body supports the projects in data documentation and archiving.
Reading, writing and calculating are essential cultural skills. An active and autonomous participation in social life without these skills is hardly possible or at least much more difficult. Numerous studies have shown that people with deficits in these fields lack equality of educational opportunity, and their occupational outlook is worse than for those without dyskalkulia or dyslexia. However, developmental disorders of scholastic skills as well as support measures in this area still need to be thoroughly analysed scientifically . In addition to the symptomatic investigation of possible learning-disorders the research on individual cause-related diagnostics is particularly important to derive further steps for special needs. Individual, cause-related and evidence-based measures to help the affected can only be designed on the basis of a precise diagnosis. An empirical effectiveness check should be carried out before implementing a support and therapy programme. The single factors which are to be tested empirically should be extracted from either those areas which cause difficulties to children, adolescents and adults with defined developmental disorders of scholastic skills or those which are especially fit for compensating these difficulties. Another important aspect is possible comorbid conspicuities or disorders (i.e. in the fields of working memory, attention, emotion, motivation), which, when diagnosed, represent an important factor that should be integrated in the support for the affected person, in order to provide effective aid. Consequently this BMBF-initiative aims to generate empiric knowledge through research projects. This knowledge will contribute to generating individual, cause-related diagnosis and evidence-based support for children, adolescents and adults.
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