The Research Group on the Development of Competencies is co-funded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the University of Szeged. The research group was founded in 1995 by József Nagy has been led by Benő Csapó since 2001. The research group conducts research in the field of educational sciences. Its objective is to investigate the organization of knowledge, the application of school based knowledge and the affective factors influencing knowledge acquisition.

The determination of knowledge content and competencies necessary in the school of the 21st century has become a major project in today's educational systems of developed countries. Hence, it has grown to be a fundamental research objective to explore the structure and organization of knowledge, the application of school-based knowledge in outside school context and other personality features influencing knowledge acquisition. Educational evaluation, test development, large-scale assessment and sophisticated techniques of data analysis have a tradition of almost three decades at the University of Szeged. The Research Group on the Development of Competencies is conducting research according to these traditions in two interrelated major projects:

1. The analysis of the organization and quality of school-based knowledge and the influencing factors of learning success (investigating the propositional and procedural elements of knowledge and their relationships)

2. Large-scale skill assessment, conducting developmental trainings, developing instruments and methods of domain-specific and domain-general skill development

The work of the research group is centered around the first Hungarian longitudinal assessment program in school context. The main objective of the investigations is to explore the development of knowledge in the three major literacy domains: reading comprehension, mathematical thinking and science knowledge. This objective is complemented with the investigation of communication skills needed for outside school effectiveness (foreign language and ICT skills) and some non-cognitive determinants of knowledge acquisition. Besides the tracking of student development in various age-cohorts and analyzing the collected data, the program topics provide the possibility of examining the effects of changes made in the educational system as well.

The Research Group gradually shifted from paper-based testing to online (computer-based) assessment. Since 2015 most of the data collection was carried out online by applying the eDia system.