Evaluating the Language Skills of Children with Immigrant Roots


Nearly a third of the children currently starting school in Germany have immigrant roots.

Although this statistic should not imply that children with immigrant roots have a worse mastery of the German language than those children without immigrant roots, in practice this is quite often the assumption. These faulty assumptions can result in massive disadvantages not only for the children directly affected but also for the society they live in.  In order to address this problem with effective support programs, a clear analysis of the language skills of the individual children must be made.

The necessity for action has now been acknowledged and made a priority by the responsible parties at the state and federal level.  Without a clear idea of the language challenges and potentials of these children it is impossible to adequately determine either the need for funding or the possible progress achieved by the funding. The goal of this research project is to develop a procedure for testing the language level of children between the ages of four and five that delivers both precise results and ease of use.

After intensive preparation, the project was launched in November 2015 under the direction of Professor Jörg Roche of the University of Munich.


Head of Project: Jörg Roche
Project Coordination: Nicole Weidinger
Staff at LMU: Moiken Jessen, Elisabetta Terrasi-Haufe


Heike Behrens, Universität Basel
Stefanie Haberzettl, Universität des Saarlandes
Marcus Hasselhorn, DIPF Frankfurt
Dirk Ifenthaler, Universität Mannheim
Natalia Kapica, Universität Heidelberg
Gabriele Kecker, TestDaF-Institut Bochum
Karin Madlener, Universität Basel
Giulio Pagonis, Universität Heidelberg
Maike Schug, Universität des Saarlandes
Katrin Skoruppa, Universität Basel
Frank Thissen, Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart
Wolfgang Woerner, DIPF Frankfurt

Research Assistant:
Sophie Dettwiler, Universität Basel
Thea Frese, Universität Heidelberg
Mitra Shateri, LMU München


This project is funded by the Daimler and Benz Foundation.