Dissertation Project of Dr. Anna Noll

Material for the Doctorate Completed in 2020

Dissertation [german]

The student workbooks for the four different groups of experiments (EG 1) through (EG 4), as well as the associated learning video, are provided here for retrieval:

EG 1: Easy language
EG 2: Easy language + pictograms
EG 3: Easy language + photos
EG 4: No support measure
Learning video


Dissertation Award of the Department 7: Natural and Environmental Sciences 2020. [won]

How should learning materials be designed in inclusion classrooms? - Empirical investigation of work processes depending on instructional materials

Research question

The project aims to investigate which design elements of work assignments have a positive influence on the performance of students in inclusive group work situations.


The aim is to derive design criteria for work assignments that can be used in inclusive mathematics instruction and improve it.

Theoretical background

The principle of inclusion states "that schools should accept all children, regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic, or other abilities" (Bundschuh 2012, p. 109). This means that all students, including students with severe disabilities, should be educated in a mainstream class (Woolfolk 2008, p. 160). However, in order to achieve this goal, the pedagogical conditions must first be adapted to all students (ibid.). A significant step in this direction is to enable all children to read the work assignments. For this purpose, criteria of text simplification can be applied, such as the rules of easy language (cf. Netzwerk leichte Sprache at leichtesprache.org). Furthermore, texts can be linked with pictograms to facilitate comprehension. The extent to which enriching texts with pictograms increases text comprehension, however, has been little empirically investigated. Although theoretical considerations speak for a positive effect by linking texts with pictograms (cf. Frenkel & Bourdin 2009), the results of the few existing studies are not clear (cf. Jones, Long & Finlay 2007, Poneclas & Murphey 2007).

Methodical Procedure

In a qualitative preliminary study, different variants of text simplification will first be tested in a systemically varied manner. In a quantitative main study with experimental and comparison group design, it will then be analyzed to what extent the application of the rules of easy language and the linking of text with pictograms facilitates independent work in heterogeneous learning groups.


Bundschuh, K. (2013). System – Inklusion – Betroffene. Grenzen und Möglichkeiten. In Cornelius Breyer, et al. (Hrgs.), Sonderpädagogik und Inklusion. Oberhausen: Athena-Verlag.

Frenkel, S. & Bourdin, B. (2009). Verbal, visual, and spatio-sequential short-term memory: assessment of the storage capacities of children and teenagers with Down’s syndrome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 53 (2), 152-160.

Jones, F. W., Long, K. & Finlay, W. M. L. (2007). Symbols can improve the reading comprehension of adults with learning disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 51 (7), 545–550

Poncelas, A. & Murphy, G. (2007). Accessible Information for People with Intellectual Disabilities: Do Symbols Really Help? Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 20 (5), 466–474.

Woolfolk, A. (2008). Pädagogische Psychologie (10. Auflage). München: Pearson Studium.


[This dissertation was written and is only available in german. Our summary was translated by our website team. Possible quotations have been translated in accordance with scientific regularia.]