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Completed Research Projects

Individualization Through Mentoring in Schools

The project was implemented in schools participating in the “Promoting Excellence in School Education” initiative. The Germany-wide initiative promoting high-performing and potentially very high-performing pupils is co-sponsored by the German federal government and state governments. As part of the initiative, a Germany-wide interdisciplinary research network, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, supported the participating schools by developing and scientifically evaluating different concepts for promoting high-performing and potentially very high-performing pupils.
Within this larger framework, the Individualization through Mentoring project investigated the implementation of mentoring programs. Mentoring is one of the most successful methods of promoting gifted students, but only when implemented properly. The aim of the project was to support the participating schools in the conception, implementation, and ongoing improvement of mentoring programs focused on helping individual high-performing and very high-performing students to continue to develop their strengths. Within this framework, three different mentoring concepts were implemented.

  1. Optimization of existing mentoring programs: Schools were supported in the optimization and professionalization of their extant mentoring programs. The programs’ objectives, target groups, and implementation procedures varied from program to program.
  2. Individual learning paths: High-performing pupils who are particularly interested in developing their talent receive intensive one-on-one mentoring in their specific talent domain (i.e., a subject) by teachers teaching STEM subjects. Following an extensive developmental diagnosis, individual learning paths for the mentees are planned, implemented, and adapted over the course of several years. The process is designed to help the mentees develop their domain-specific talent in an optimal fashion.
  3. CyberMentor Plus: An existing online mentoring program designed to promote girls’ interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), CyberMentor, is augmented by an additional in-school component. Girls in grades 5–12 receive a personal online-mentor who is either studying a STEM subject at university or working in a STEM profession. On the password-protected platform, as many as 800 mentor–mentee dyads exchange ideas with one another and collaborate on projects in STEM. In the participating schools, the mentees take part in STEM-related clubs run by teachers teaching STEM subjects. The teachers also maintain regular contact with the online mentors.

Teachers who participated in the program completed multi-day training workshops. After teacher workshops had been implemented, schools received assistance in developing and improving the mentoring concepts via advanced workshops and formative evaluations. The evaluation results were then used to further improve the mentoring concepts. The schools were also integrated into a larger network to facilitate synergy effects.

Study Participants:
The participating schools used one or more of the in-school mentoring concepts. A total of 80 school mentoring concepts were being implemented within the project. Pupils, parents, and teachers took part in the accompanying research for the formative evaluation of the mentoring concepts.

The Individualization through Mentoring project was part of a Germany-wide interdisciplinary research network established as part of the Promoting Excellence in School Education initiative described above. The funding of the research network was provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2018–2023). The CyberMentor Plus mentoring concept was funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Instruction and Culture (2018–2023).

For further information on the research network, see: www.lemas-forschung.de
For further information on the Promoting Excellence in School Education initiative see: www.leistung-macht-schule.de

Participating Institutions and Persons:
Universität Regensburg: Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Dr. Kathrin Emmerdinger, Sonja Bayer, Katharina Kaifer, and Dr. Benjamin Matthes

Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: Prof. Drs. Albert Ziegler, Ann-Kathrin Quarda, Tina-Myrica Daunicht

Professional Development for Internship Guidance Teachers

During their undergraduate studies, preservice teachers in Bavaria complete school internships as per the Bavarian State Examination Regulations of the teaching profession. The internship facilitate the multi-level professionalization of students through participation in school practice. They are supervised and accompanied by internship teachers.

In the project Professional Development for Internship Guidance Teachers, internship guidance teachers are prepared for the supervision and accompaniment of preservice teacher interns during one of their school internships, the pedagogical-didactic internship. The project developed an introductory professional development unit for the internship guidance teachers and accompanying coaching services. All development was coordinated with the school supervisory authorities and the university colleagues who supervise internships. Central elements of the training unit include information on the student internees’ level of knowledge about their future internships as well as theoretical knowledge relevant for internship supervision (e.g., feedback and advice). In implementing what they have learned, the internship guidance teachers receive coaching and supervision from a project employee. As a means of quality assurance, the project is also evaluating the training unit and the coaching measures. In addition to assessing general effectiveness, the evaluation is also implemented a longitudinal design to assess whether and to which extent the training unit affected internship guidance teachers’ self-efficacy. The results of the accompanying research are being continuously incorporated into the improvement of the training units.


Appointed internship guidance teachers from all types of schools in the governments of Upper Palatinate and Lower Bavaria can participate in the training program. Preserve teachers preparing to enter the teaching profession also participated in the study (via their university coursework preparing them for their pedagogical-didactic internship).


The voluntary training program for internship guidance teachers is part of the KOLEG Project Network—Kooperative Lehrerbildung Gestalten (Shaping Cooperative Teacher Training)—at the University of Regensburg and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the  federalstate Quality Offensive Teacher Education program.

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Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger,  Antonie Hoeldrich, and Dr. Sigrun Schirner

A Gifted Identification Kit for the United Arab Emirates: Identifying and Developing High Potentials

Researchers acknowledge the importance of supporting individual talents in every society. Yet findings indicate that the talents of young individuals regularly go undetected and that societies often fail at helping them transform recognized talents and strengths into high achievements and excellence. Individuals and societies pay a high price for this lost potential. Over the next three years (1 April 201531 March 2018), the UAE Gifted Identification Kit project will develop, test, and introduce a Gifted Identification Kit (GIK) for the United Arab Emirates to help avoid such undesirable outcomes.

To optimally support children with high potentials, researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the University of Regensburg, and King Faisal University, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia, are developing the UAE GIK to identify gifted students and offer recommendations about ideal forms of gifted education for selected pupils. Their work is being funded by the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai) with a grant of more than € 1,000,000. The UAE GIK’s theoretical basis is the actiotope model of giftedness (Ziegler, 2005), which conceptualizes domain-specific achievement excellence as the long-term result of a successful, interdependent adaptation process—a coevolution—involving various components that exist both within individuals and in their material and social environments. The UAE GIK consists of a three-step identification process in accordance with the model. In the screening stage, teachers nominate their most talented students with the help of a specifically developed checklist. In the narrowing stage, an extensive test battery provides a sound means of identifying the most promising students among the stage-1 nominees. The test battery assesses fluid and crystallized intelligence as well as learning and educational resources. Finally, in the inclusion stage, the UAE GIK uses an interview guide to develop the best possible individual paths to excellence for each stage-two candidate. Furthermore, the inclusion stage ensures that each individual path to excellence is reasonable and desirable for all stakeholders—the pupils, their families, and their teachers. This is essential for ensuring the long-term effectiveness of gifted education placement decisions.

Collaborating Institutions and Researchers

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany): Prof. Drs. Albert Ziegler (project director), Tobias Debatin, Hyerim Oh, and Sarah Awad

University of Regensburg (Germany): Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger (project director),  Norah Al Mulhim, Dr. Daniel Patrick Balestrini, and Dr. Benjamin Matthes

King Faisal University of Al-Hassa (Saudi Arabia): Prof. Dr. Abdullah Aljughaiman (scientific project consultant)

Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): Dr. Mariam AlGhawi and Hessa Alamri


Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Research-Based Preparation of the Global Talent Mentoring Program

Mentoring is a means to provide effective extracurricular support for gifted students as they progress toward excellence in a given field. Online mentoring has been shown to be particularly beneficial for the talent development of students with high potential in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In order to optimize the effects of online mentoring, it is necessary that online-mentoring programs are developed and implemented based on scientific criteria. Therefore, the goals of Global Talent Mentoring are (a) to identify the most important determinants of effective online mentoring via empirical quantitative and qualitative research and (b) to develop a research-based global mentoring program for exceptionally talented and motivated youth in STEMM (to also include the medical sciences).

Global Talent Mentoring will conduct studies in two phases. During pre-mentoring research from 2018 to 2020, studies will be conducted on (a) optimal talent development in STEMM fields, (b) needs assessments for best practice for mentoring programs, and (c) optimal online mentoring. First, international experts from different fields (STEMM, talent development, networking, etc.) and in different roles (researchers, practitioners, etc.) will be surveyed on their views on different support mechanisms for talent development in STEMM fields. Second, potential mentees and mentors as well as experts from different areas (STEMM education, giftedness, etc.) will be surveyed about their needs, requirements, and ideas concerning what they think an ideal mentoring program would entail. Third, existing online mentoring programs will be analyzed to determine which aspects are essential for effective online mentoring (e.g., matching criteria, communication behavior, etc.). The second research phase will begin when the pilot round of mentoring commences in March 2021. Formative evaluations will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the program. In future years, longitudinal studies will measure the growth of students in the mentoring group compared to students in a waitlist control group at several time points. Moreover, factors contributing to mentoring success will be examined, such as communication about STEMM topics, quality of mentee–mentor relationships, and STEMM-project involvement. Results of the formative evaluations will be used to continually improve the online mentoring platform.

Global Talent Mentoring is a flagship offering of the future World Giftedness Center, a larger undertaking that will be an online hub for evidence-based gifted education and research. When it opens its virtual doors in late 2021, the World Giftedness Center will facilitate stronger links between research and practice by providing instructional materials, hosting training seminars, publishing a scientific journal, and establishing an international accreditation system for gifted education and research. Global Talent Mentoring and the World Giftedness Center are programs by the UNESCO-recognized Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, UAE).


Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger (project director), Faisal Ahsan, Christopher Anastasiu, Dr. Daniel Patrick Balestrini (COO and Coordinator), Christin Graml, Karin Hüttche, Elke Krüsmann, Ildikó Győryné Csomó, Dr. Linlin Luo, and Matthias Mader


UNESCO-recognized Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

More Information

For more information about Global Talent Mentoring and its partners, please visit www.globaltalentmentoring.org

For more information about the World Giftedness Center, please visit www.worldgiftednesscenter.org

Gender and Care in the Media: Computer-Aided Text Analysis for the Representation of Girls/Women and Boys/Men in Textbooks and in Children’s and Youth Literature

While women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this is true for men in the care sector. One possible explanation could be role models, which are presented in the media. During childhood and adolescence, the media presentation of role models in schoolbooks and children’s and youth literature has a socializing effect. The central questions of the project concern the frequency and type of representation of boys and men in care contexts and of girls and women in STEM contexts in these media. Among other things, it is examined whether girls and women in their media presentation predominantly correspond to the gender stereotype of the socially engaged woman and whether boys and men correspond more closely to the stereotype of the STEM-gifted man. The most important Bavarian schoolbooks as well as the most popular books for children and youths are used as objects of investigation.

In addition to differentiated analyses of these media according to school subjects, grades, and school types, urban–rural differences as well as diachronic changes in the media presentation of gender-specific role concepts in care professions and STEM professions are also examined.


Funding was provided by the Bavarian State Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and the Arts as part of the ForGenderCare research association.


Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Bernhard Frühwirth, Dr. Michael Heilemann, Dr. Sigrun Schirner

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Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger



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