Evoking excellence with special undergraduate programmes: a German-Dutch comparison

Lyndsay Drayer, Julia Moeller

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This presentation compares the two main gifted education programmes for undergraduate students in the Netherlands and Germany. The programmes were evaluated and will be compared in terms of the institutions involved, the educational objectives pursued, the nature of support provided to the students, and the anticipated effects (Netherlands), respectively the achieved effects (Germany). The Dutch study focuses on the Sirius Program established by the Dutch government which invited universities to submit their own plans for the promotion of student excellence. The successful applications are analysed with respect to the above mentioned criteria. The German study focuses on the ideational support means, which is a varied enrichment programme provided by several national foundations that is supported with money and guidelines by the German government. The scholarship recipients were interviewed in large online surveys ( N1 = 2379 and N2 = 1614). Both programmes are endowed with public funding and thus are shaped by political objectives. Also, both programmes are conducted by non-governmental institutions: universities in the Netherlands, and basically political, religious and social foundations in Germany. Thus, the presentation provides insights in theory and practice of gifted undergraduate education in both countries. The discussion will address the impact of political objectives and organizational structures on the reality of gifted education. Strategies for educators to accumulate scientific knowledge about gifted education, about evidence-based goals and about real life limitations will be provided. The different evaluation methods will be discussed in order to find out the best practice for research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event14th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction 2011: "Education for a Global Networked Society" - University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 20113 Sept 2011
Conference number: 14th


Conference14th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction 2011
Abbreviated titleEARLI 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • higher education
  • honours programmes
  • excellence


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