© Annette Etges/Mercator-Institut

The effectiveness of integrated strategies in classrooms:

A systematic review

International standardised assessments of educational attainment from the 2000s prompted re-examination of school systems and pedagogical concepts in Germany. The uncovering of a direct correlation between success in school and language proficiency drove efforts to encompass heterogeneous student bodies. In response to this finding, academic language education saw the development and institution of concepts of instruction that integrated language support and subject teaching at the primary and secondary levels (e.g. Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model). Increasingly, these instruction concepts have been adopted in school curricula and teacher training.

However, there is no empirical evidence showing that this integration of academic language and subject learning in classrooms has been effective; for German-speaking countries, there are no systematic studies of the conditions that yield improved academic language skills and thus promote subject learning.

The objective of this project is to assess the effectiveness of integrated strategies in classrooms, to see if they improve students’ academic language skills in primary and secondary schools. To achieve this goal, the research team will develop and publish a peer-reviewed a priori protocol which includes a structured, step-wise methodology that can comprehensively collate, critically appraise and synthesise existing evidence on integrated strategies in classrooms.

Following this protocol, the researchers will search for existing studies in general and topic-specific databases, complementing them by both grey literature searches and hand searches by using the snowball principle. Relevant studies will be identified following a transparent double-review process. Using a catalogue of criteria, the research team will assess the quality and significance of the studies, summarising their contents and discussing them critically in a narrative evidence synthesis.

The study will provide a differentiated perspective on concepts of instruction for academic language education that integrates academic language and subject learning. They will serve as the foundation of an evidence-informed educational policy and practice. Furthermore, new research may be initiated on the basis of the findings of this project.

At a glance


The project will conduct a systematic review of integrated strategies in classroomsat the primary and secondary levels.


August 2018 till April 2022

Project Management

Dr. Martha Höfler
Dr. Till Woerfel

Project Team

Anastasia Knaus (until 8/2019)

Leonie Twente (WHB)

Rebekka Wanka

Dr. Annika Witte

Dr. Tetyana Vasylyeva


Prof. Dr. Karin Zimmer (University of Vechta/DIPF - DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education)

Jolika Schulte (University of Vechta)

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