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Evaluation of the Post-graduate Course "Support in Language and in Mathematics"

Background and aims

The Pädagogische Hochschule Rorschach (PH has developed a new post-graduate course "Support in language and in mathematics". The first course began in August 2005 with 25 participants. It comprises 40 training days and spans across one year. It is planned to hold the course at least two more times.
The pilot course is evaluated by the Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik (HfH). The purpose of the evaluation is to examine the impact that the course has on the professional activities of the course's participants. The occupational field is thus the frame of reference for the examination.


  1. The following issues are of particular interest:
    Is it possible to establish changes in the participants in terms of the definition of the problem, intervention and reflection about their own work?
  2. To what extent can these changes be attributed to the course?
  3. How do the qualitative and quantitative competencies change (how well / how discriminatingly do the participants assimilate knowledge, and how broad is the range of this knowledge)?
  4. How does the implementation of competence in professional everyday life (performance) change?


  1. A written, partially standardised, survey of all 25 course participants at the beginning (2005) and after completion of the training (2007). Content: everyday professional activities, working emphasis, description of the pupils.
  2. Qualitative analysis of written case descriptions of six selected course participants (description of the problem, procedure, ways of arriving at solutions, assessment of effectiveness).
  3. Qualitative group discussion with six selected participants plus two further persons from the school in which they are active. As a rule, this is a regular class teacher who has professional connections with the participant and a school director or principal.  With groups of three assembled in this way, group discussions will be held – once again at two points in time (beginning and end of the training).


Analysis of the case descriptions shows an increase in the reflective ability of the course participants. Following completion of the post-diploma course, an increased number of models and theories were introduced for use in the explanation of diagnostic statements and for the reflection of pedagogic interventions. The gain in reflective power can be interpreted as a competence imparted by the post-diploma course.

Increased contemplation with regard to educational practice shows not only a purely quantitative increase but also exhibits a qualitative aspect: the individual-centred approach to problem solving at the beginning of the post-diploma course yielded to a more interactive approach, which integrates an increase in information obtained from the school and the parental home. The post-diploma course's central training benefits lie in the area of didactic-methodological competencies. The participants increased their know-how with regard to these competencies and evaluated the significance of the acquired skills more favourably after the course than at the beginning. Deficits within the post-diploma course lie primarily in the "Social Behaviour" module and its two complementary areas "Management" and "Legitimation".

On the one hand these results show unfulfilled expectations with regard to what is learned in how to deal with pupils with behavioural difficulties, on the other hand unfulfilled career interests and disappointments with regard to taking up a specialised function have been expressed. On the level of implementation, those course participants who occupy a recognised key support function within their school unit do not only reflect in a more differentiated manner regarding their pedagogic practice following completion of the post-diploma course, but have also shown an increase in their variation range with respect to possible interventions. The opposite is true of course participants whose support function within a school unit is peripheral or carried out by other people, namely, that differentiated reflection on specific special needs education problems have no influence on their practice.



Project Management

Dr. phil.  Barth


Project team


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe