• Tobias Rolfes
  • Anke Lindmeier
  • Aiso Heinze
Over the last ten years, students’ mathematics achievements in upper secondary school have increasingly become the focus of educational research, university teaching, and educational policy in Germany. This article aims to take a closer look at the existing empirical evidence and, thus, to contribute to an overview. For this reason, the first part of the article reports a systematic review of large scale assessments on students’ mathematics achievement in upper secondary school that were conducted since 1995. It was analyzed which facets of mathematical abilities are covered in these large scale assessments, which aspects of the overarching educational goals of in-depth general education, science propaedeutics and scholastic aptitude are reflected in school achievement studies, and which level models have been developed for criteria-based classification of student achievement. It was found that the instruments used each represented only a particular facet of mathematical abilities and almost ignored essential aspects (e.g., procedural-technical skills). It also became clear that a criteria-based comparison of the results from the different large scale assessments has hardly been carried out so far. Therefore, in the second part of the article, the large scale assessments’ data and results were subjected to a secondary analysis. Student performances were transformed into comparable scales and compared using existing level models. It was shown that the majority of the students were able to cope with real-life problems based on the mathematical concepts and procedures of the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate. With regard to science propaedeutics and the scholastic aptitude, the majority showed apparent deficits, as they were only able to deal with subject-specific learning contents of upper secondary school (e.g., calculus, analytical geometry) to a limited extent. Implications for mathematics education research on mathematics teaching in upper secondary school and its educational goals are discussed.
Translated title of the contributionMathematical achievements of upper secondary school students in Germany: A review and a secondary analysis of large scale assessment studies since 1995
Original languageGerman
JournalJournal für Mathematik-Didaktik
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)395-429
Publication statusPublished - 10.2021

    Research areas

  • Domain-specific learning in kindergarten and school - Upper secondary school, Mathematical achievement, Large scale assessments, Educational standards, General university entrance qualification

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