International KoKoHs Conference in Mainz (2019)

International KoKoHs Conference, September 11-13, 2019, Mainz

On September 11 - 13 2019, the international conference of the research program “Models and Instruments for the Assessment of Competencies in Higher Education – Validation and Methodological Innovations” (KoKoHs), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), was hosted by Prof. Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia and Prof. Dr. Hans Anand Pant at the Helmholtz Institute at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Participants comprised around 70 members of the research projects as well as other researchers and practitioners from higher education. The aim of the conference was to present central research results as well as to critically reflect on possibilities for transfer into practice, based on exchange with renowned international experts.

The vice president of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller-Stach gave the welcome speech to open the conference. Prof. Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, the head of the scientific transfer project, also welcomed the participants and presented previous work and comprehensive results from the past ten years of the research initiative in Germany as well as future perspectives of the KoKoHs program. This introductory presentation was followed by critical reflections by the renowned international experts Prof. Richard Shavelson, Stanford University, and Prof. James Pellegrino, University of Illinois at Chicago.

During the lunch break, project posters and the developed and validated KoKoHs test instruments were presented by members of the respective projects. Afterwards, the 16 collaborative research projects, which were divided into the three overarching domain clusters generic competences, subject-specific competencies in medicine and economics, and teacher training, presented their main results and project highlights. The international experts Prof. Dr. Christiane Spiel, Prof. James Pellegrino, Prof. Richard Shavelson, and Prof. Fritz Dr. Oser gave critical feedback on all of the presentations. Following these sessions, Prof. Dr. Samuel Greiff from the University of Luxembourg provided a brief overview of the planned external evaluation process of the KoKoHs test instruments. Finally, an expert panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Christiane Spiel and focusing on transferring KoKoHs results and findings into higher education practice marked the end of the of the first conference day.

Prof. Dr. Christiane Spiel from the University of Vienna opened the second conference day with her keynote on the topic “Implementing Innovations in Educational Settings: Challenges and Recommendations“. After this presentation, there was a moderated KoKoHs group discussion about collaboration and networking in the context of transfer projects. The participants formed to groups to develop first proposals for possible cooperation on transfer, which were then presented in the plenary session. Following this session, Dr. Marius Gerecht from the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF) presented possibilities of archiving and re-using instruments and data from the KoKoHs program. Prof. Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia and Prof. Dr. Hans Anand Pant concluded the conference with some closing remarks and an outlook on the next transfer phase of the selected KoKoHs projects.