Universities and free schools between the requirement
of differentiation and institutionalized contrasts
School as an institution administers a treatment program to individuals that marks them as good/bad, talented/untalented, studious/lazy and acknowledges this in certificates. As such a special institution school has always been faced with other forms of evaluation. The research project investigates two institutions that carry out the differentiation of humans on the basis of principles and assumptions different from those employed by regular schools: alternative free schools on the one hand and universities on the other hand. These institutions operate with different theories on education, learning and independence; in doing so they question the notion of educational achievement and highlight its limitation. Within the context of their differentiation concept and practice both institutions emphasise classic educational ideals of supporting and challenging individuals. The research project aims at an empirical investigation on how alternative free schools and universities conduct the treatment and marking of individuals, how this treatment and marking is negotiated among participants and how it is adopted by them. With the empirical findings the research project further aims at framing the empirical results of the first phase of funding – i.e., the differentiation of humans in regular schools.