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Prof Jens Beckmann

Professor, Director of Postgraduate Research

Dipl.-Psych., Dr.rer.nat.habil.

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Professor, Director of Postgraduate Research in the School of EducationED302 
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing  


Jens Beckmann is Professor of Educational Psychology, and Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham

Jens joined Durham University, School of Education in 2011 from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he was Director of the Accelerated Learning Laboratory. Prior to that he worked at the University of Sydney (Australia), Yale University (USA), the University of Bonn and the University of Leipzig (Germany).

His areas of expertise and his main foci of research have mainly been on the study and the assessment of intellectual abilities. More specifically, he conducts research in three main areas:

Dynamic Testing: Dynamic tests concentrate specifically on intellectual potential instead of the mere registration of what examinees are capable of doing at the given time of testing. He has been working extensively on the development of dynamic assessment procedures (e.g. learning tests).

Complex Problem Solving: His interest here is primarily on knowledge acquisition processes whilst dealing with complex dynamic simulations and their effects on controlling such systems. Research in complex problem solving not only allows studying learning and the acquisition and application of knowledge it can also provide a framework to address issues around instructional design.

Cognitive Flexibility: Cognitive flexibility can broadly be defined as the ability to deal with novelty, adjust to changes, and to break out of routine ways of thinking when necessary. Jens' research in this area is concerned with both conceptualisation (i.e. how to define) and operationalization (i.e. how to measure) of these practically highly relevant facets of intellectual functioning.

Jens welcomes enquiries regarding potential supervision of postgraduate and doctoral research broadly related to the above-mentioned topics.

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education

Completed Supervisions

Assessment, development and experimental evaluation of self-regulatory support in online learning.

Introducing Dynamic Testing to Teachers in Malaysia: An Experimental Investigation of Its Effects on Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices about Assessment.

 Teacher Absenteeism and the Perceived Reasons for its Effect on Student Achievement in Three Barbadian Secondary Schools.

 An investigation into the challenges faced by international school teachers when interpreting the results from standardised tests.

Research interests

  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Dynamic Testing
  • Complex Problem Solving

Research Projects

  • UKCAT Research Capacity Building

Awarded Grants

  • 2021: 2021 – 2024: Australian Research Council (ARC): Creating a paradigm shift in understanding cognitive flexibility by overcoming psychometric rigidity (in collaboration with Damian Birney (University of Sydney), Sally Cripps (University of Sydney), R
  • 2014: UKCAT - Outline Research Proposal (Capacity Building Tender)(£22846.00 from UKCAT)

Esteem Indicators


Authored book

  • Wood, R.D., Cogin, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2009). Managerial Problem Solving: Frameworks, Tools & Techniques. Australia: McGraw Hill.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2001). Zur Validierung des Konstrukts des intellektuellen Veränderungspotentials [On the validation of the construct of intellectual change potential]. Berlin: Logos.
  • Beckmann, J.F. & Guthke, J. (1999). Psychodiagnostik des schlußfolgernden Denkens [The assessment of reasoning ability]. Göttingen: Hogrefe.
  • Guthke, J. Beckmann, J.F. Stein, H., Vahle, H. & Rittner, S. (1995). Adaptive Computergestützte Intelligenz-Lerntestbatterie (ACIL) [The Adaptive, Computer-Based Learning Test Battery]. Mödlingen: Schuhfried.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (1994). Lernen und komplexes Problemlösen [Learning and Complex Problem Solving]. Bonn: Holos.

Chapter in book

  • Birney, P.B., Beckmann, J.F. & Beckmann, N. (2019). Within-individual variability of ability and learning trajectories in complex problems. In General and Specific Mental Abilities. McFarland, D.J. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. 253-283.
  • Beckmann, J.F. & Schumacher, J (2004). Urteilsbildung und Entscheidung [Judgement and Decision Making]. In Lehrbuch Medizinische Psychologie und Medizinische Soziologie. Strauß, B., Berger, U., von Troschke, J. & Brähler, E. Göttingen: Hogrefe. 403-425.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Dynamic Assessment with Diagnostic Programs. In Models of Intelligence. International Perspectives. Sternberg, R.J., Lautrey, J. & Lubart, T.I. Washington, DC: APA. 227-242.
  • Guthke, J. Beckmann, J.F. & Seiwald, B. B. (2003). Wie “identisch“ sind Arbeitsgedächtnis und Schlußfolgerndes Denken? [How “identical“ are working memory and reasoning?]. In Psychologie im Kontext der Naturwissenschaften. Krause, W. & Krause, B. Berlin: trafo. 149–159.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Statusdiagnostik [Status diagnostics]. In Stichwörter der Psychologischen Diagnostik. Kubinger, K.D. & Jager, R.S. Weinheim: PVU. 393–394.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Lerntests [Learning tests]. In Stichwörter der Psychologischen Diagnostik. Kubinger, K.D. & Jager, R.S. Weinheim: PVU. 267–271.
  • Beckmann, J.F. (2003). Testing the limits. In Stichwörter der Psychologischen Diagnostik. Kubinger, K.D. & Jager, R.S. Weinheim: PVU. 402–403.
  • Beckmann, J.F. & Freitag, H. (2001). Konstruktvalidierung der Diagnostik intellektueller Lernfähigkeit. [Construct validation of learning ability]. In Dynamik im Testen. Beckmann, J.F. & Herzberg, P.Y. Landau: VEP. 161–171.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2001). Intelligenz als "Lernfähigkeit"—Lerntests als Alternative zum herkömmlichen Intelligenztest. [Intelligence as the ability to learn – learning tests as alternative to traditional intelligence measures]. In Perspektiven der Intelligenzforschung. Ein Lehrbuch für Fortgeschrittene. Stern, E. & Guthke, J. Lengerich: Pabst. 137–161.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2000). The learning test concept: Application in practice. In Dynamic Assessment: Prevailing models and applications. Lidz, C.S. & Elliott, J. Oxford, UK: Elsevier. 17-69.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (2000). Learning test concept and dynamic assessment. In Experience of mediated learning: An impact of Feuerstein's theory in education and psychology. Kozulin, A. & Rand, B.Y. Oxford, UK: Elsevier. 175-190.
  • Guthke, J. & Beckmann, J.F. (1996). Wygotskis Postulat von der “Diagnostik der Zone der nächsten Entwicklung“ und dessen Realisierung in der zeitgenössischen Psychodiagnostik [Vygotsky’s postulate of the “zone of proximal development“ and its realisation in contemporary psychological assessment]. In Entwicklung und Lernen aus kulturhistorischer Sicht. Lompscher, J. Marburg: BdWi-Verlag. 270–285.
  • Beckmann, J. F. & Guthke, J. (1995). Complex problem solving, intelligence, and learning ability. In Complex problem solving: The European Perspective. Frensch, P.A. & Funke, J. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 177-200.
  • Guthke, J., Beckmann, J.F. & Stein, H. (1995). Recent research evidence on the validity of learning tests. In Advances in cognition and educational practice. European contributions to dynamic assessment. Carlson, J.S. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. 3: 117-143.

Conference Paper

Edited book

  • Seiwald, B. B., Guthke, J., Petermann, H., Beckmann, J. F. & Roth, M. (2001). 6. Arbeitstagung der Fachgruppe für Differentielle Psychologie, Persönlichkeitspsychologie und Psychologische Diagnostik der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie. Universitätsverlag.
  • Beckmann, J.F. & Herzberg, Y. (2001). Dynamik im Testen. Neuere Befunde und Anwendungen [Dynamic in testing. Recent results and applications]. Landau: VEP.

Journal Article


  • Beckmann, J.F. (2016), Flexibility in Dynamic Testing - Potentials for Complex Problem Solving?, Cognitive Science and Assessment. University of Luxembourg.


  • Wood, R.E., Beckmann, J.F. & Birney, D.P. (2012). Flexible Expertise in Senior Executives (Final Report for Linkage Project LP0669552). Sydney: Accelerated Learning Laboratory. Accelerated Learning Laboratory.

Supervision students