The Anchoring Center for Educational Research (AnCER) in its research endeavor focuses on a variety of research areas and the application of both innovative and well-established methodological approaches. Some of the major areas of interest of the AnCER members are:


  •  The anchoring vignette method is a methodological approach that has shown great promise in enhancing the comparability of self-reported data across different groups of respondents in a variety of research areas. These areas include: health, life satisfaction, work disability, and personality. The fundamental principle underlying the anchoring vignette method is asking the respondents to not only self-assess themselves on a certain concept (e.g., the level of health, the level of self-control, or the level of mathematics skills), but also to assess a set of anchoring vignettes, which are short stories describing a hypothetical person manifesting a certain level of the given concept. Since all the respondents assess the same anchoring vignettes, we can interpret the differences in their ratings as the differences in their use of scale. Using this information, we can adjust respondents’ self-reports for these differences in order to obtain more accurate results. 

Researchers in AnCER have conducted some pioneering research utilizing the anchoring vignette method in education. They apply this method in research on students’ level of ICT skills, EFL proficiency and learning motivation, school misbehavior, and other school related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Also, they continue to focus on further development of the anchoring vignette method, specifically, examining the adherence to the basic underlying assumptions of this method, the specification of the parametric approach of the method, and issues related to vignette formulation. 


  •  The overclaiming technique (OCT), though originally introduced as an alternative measure of socially desirable responding, has soon found its use also in other research areas. More recently, the technique has been suggested, for example, to be used to enhance the cross-cultural comparability of student self-reports and as a testing format in scholastic assessment. The basic idea of the technique is that respondents rate their familiarity with a list of items. The majority of the list is composed of existing items from a particular field of knowledge (e.g., mathematics, physics). However, some of the items on the list actually do not exist (typically about 20%). This allows the identification of the differences in respondents’ accuracy and exaggeration when reporting their knowledge. 

AnCER researchers frequently employ this technique. They work on identifying the differences in OCT response patterns between students from different countries and cultures but also between different groups of students within a single country. They also work on further methodological development of the technique and have proposed a general framework for the categorization of respondents according to their response patterns. They focus on the application of the technique primarily in the domains of ICT knowledge, mathematical knowledge, and English as a foreign language knowledge. AnCER researchers have published or presented pioneering works applying the technique in these domains.


  • English as a foreign language (EFL) learning and motivation is an important issue for educational systems world-wide. In today’s world, English serves as an international means of communication in education, business, media and other important domains. Knowledge of English can open new horizons to students in terms of travelling or their position in the labor market. In many countries, learning English is obligatory for students during their education, and it can also be the language of instruction in educational institutions. The identification of the differences in EFL skills and motivation among different groups of students thus becomes an important task for researchers and educators, as these differences might significantly impact the perspectives and many relevant outcomes of these students. 

AnCER researchers contribute to the further broadening of the knowledge about EFL learning and motivation among Czech students. They study, among other topics, the students’ level of both actual and self-reported EFL skills, their level of motivation for learning EFL, and their level of EFL anxiety. The members of AnCER participate in the grant project “Analyzing the determinants of self-reported English language knowledge and motivation for English language learning in Czech lower secondary students” funded by the Czech Science Foundation (for more information, see the “Projects” section).


  • Computer and information literacy is another skill that has received much attention lately from both researchers and educators. As more and more agendas move to an online environment, the ability to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) effectively becomes requisite for full participation in society, work, and education. Also, young people spend a considerable amount of time using their laptops, smartphones, and other devices every day, be it for searching and sharing information, communicating with peers, or entertainment. The development of such abilities as working with information online, creating electronic content, and collaborating with others in the online environment, while also managing one’s personal information and online safety thus becomes a crucial task for educational systems. 

The researchers in AnCER aim to identify the differences in the level of ICT skills among Czech students in addition to determining how different groups of students report the level of these skills in questionnaire surveys. In their work, the researchers cover a variety of competences, ranging from working with information through online communication and collaboration to online safety. Much research into the level of ICT skills among Czech upper secondary students has been conducted as a part of the grant project by Czech Science Foundation “Factors influencing the ICT skill self-assessments of upper-secondary school students” (for more information, see the “Projects” section).


  • Student well-being is an indicator of great interest for both educators and educational psychologists. International large-scale assessment studies like the Programme for International Student Assessment or Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children have included student well-being measures in order to be able to monitor this indicator across different countries and its development over time. Ranging from how students feel at school or during particular classes to their overall evaluation of how satisfying they find their lives to be, well-being is an important outcome that needs to be fostered in educational settings. In order to identify which factors are related to student well-being and how effective different well-being oriented policies are, we need research tools that would allow us to measure student well-being on a large-scale, both cost-effectively and accurately. 

AnCER researchers contribute to this endeavor by working on innovative ways of measuring student well-being. They have published works focusing on the application of the anchoring vignette method in well-being research. Further, they analyze particular dimensions of well-being.


  • Students’ misbehavior in schools has been identified as one of the major challenges to effective teaching and learning. As teachers struggle to maintain discipline in their classrooms, they lose valuable time resources that could have been dedicated to instruction. Also, facing undisciplined students might be a great source of stress for many teachers, potentially leading them to burn out or abandon the profession. The accurate identification of the level of various forms of student misbehavior across different types of educational institutions is thus a necessary prerequisite for (a) better understanding of both individual and school-level factors related to student misbehavior and the impacts of high misbehavior levels on teachers and students and (b) better determining the effectiveness of various disciplinary interventions and policies.

AnCER researchers strive to examine the levels of student misbehavior in different types of schools. They focus on how different groups of students report their misbehaviors and work on the further development of methodological approaches that can be employed to measure various types of student misbehavior accurately.

Institution: Charles University, Faculty of Education
Street: Magdaleny Rettigove 4
City: Prague
ZIP/Postal code: 116 39
State: Czech Republic


Contact person:
Director: Hana Vonkova