We assess and compare computer science skills among final-year computer science undergraduates (seniors) in four major economic and political powers that produce approximately half of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates in the world. We find that seniors in the United States substantially outperform seniors in China, India, and Russia by 0.76–0.88 SDs and score comparably with seniors in elite institutions in these countries. Seniors in elite institutions in the United States further outperform seniors in elite institutions in China, India, and Russia by ∼0.85 SDs. The skills advantage of the United States is not because it has a large proportion of high-scoring international students. Finally, males score consistently but only moderately higher (0.16–0.41 SDs) than females within all four countries.
Using newly available data from the Trajectories in Education and Careers Study, the first longitudinal study on a representative sample of high school students in Russia, we examined the importance of investments in human and cultural capital on students’ mathematics and reading standardized examinations, as well as on the likelihood of matriculation into a selective institution of higher education. Studying mathematics and the Russian language on one’s own for more than a year was positively and significantly associated with standardized scores and with an increased likelihood of matriculating into a selective university. A higher number of books at home was also associated with an increased likelihood of matriculating into a selective university. The findings are discussed within the particular institutional context of the Russian educational system.
How much university students learn in their studies is highly debated and important to
understanding the value of higher education. Yet, information on learning gains at this level
are scarce. Our paper contributes to the debate by using unique data for Brazil to estimate
absolute test score gains across various fields of study in higher education and to assess
whether students who attend certain categories of programs (public/private, research/non-
research, highly selective/less selective) make greater relative gains than in others. Our results
suggest that students in STEM fields tend to have higher absolute achievement gains compared
to students in humanities and pedagogical programs, and that in a few fields, such as civil
engineering and history, the relative gains for students in highly selective programs in that field
of study are significantly higher than if they had attended somewhat less selective programs.
However, students attending lowest quintile selective programs in a field of study have
consistently lower gains across a range of study fields than similar students attending programs
just one quintile higher. The results have important implications for the equity effects of higher
In this paper, we study the relationship between family characteristics and the choice of an educational trajectory in high school. We explore three situations of educational choice: the choice between academic and vocational education after grades 9th (middle to high school transition) and 11th (postsecondary) as well as the choice between selective and non-selective university at the postsecondary educational choice. In accordance with R.Budon’s theory we explore primary and secondary effects of family’s socioeconomic status (SES). Primary effects are expressed via association between family’s SES and educational achievements. Secondary effects are expressed via association between students SES and their educational choices directly. The work is based on the data of the longitudinal project "Trajectories in Education and Careers". It was launched in 2011, when respondents studied in the 8th grade, and continues to these days. The dataset provide variables on the wide range of achievement, family’s SES and other important information proxies. For achievement TIMSS mathematics and USE in Russian language were used. The results showed that the primary effects reduce from the 9th to the 11th grades education choice, while the role of secondary effects increase. Even high achieving students from families with a low level of cultural, educational, and social capital chose less selective institutions. Conversely, students from families with high SES, but low academic achievements, will make a choice in favor of higher education. Conclusions are made about the degree of accessibility during transition into the high school and higher education, as well as the probable causes of the manifestation of inequality.
Assessing student learning outcomes has become a global trend in higher education. In this paper we report on the validation of the Chinese HEIghten™ Critical Thinking assessment with anationally representative sample of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science students from 35 institutions in China. Key findings suggest that there was a test delivery mode effect favoring the paper tests over the online tests. In general the psychometric quality of the items was satisfactory for low-stakes, group-level uses but there were a few items with low discrimination which awaits further investigation. The relationships between test scores and various external variables such as college entrance examination scores, university elite status, and student perceptions of the test were as expected. We conclude with speculations for the key findings and discussion of directions for future research.
Researchers have long postulated the existence of a big fish little pond effect (BFLPE) in which a student’s relative academic standing in class or school impacts his or her academic self-concept. Few studies, however, use causal research designs to identify whether the BFLPE exists and whether it is generalizable across a wide variety of contexts. The goal of our study is to provide causal estimates of the BFLPE and examine whether the estimates differ by gender and national context. To fulfill our goal, we analyze cross-national TIMSS 2011 data using a cross-subject student-fixed effects model. Our results provide the strongest evidence to date that a sizeable BFLPE exists in STEM subjects irrespective of gender and national context.
Higher Education in Federal Countries: A Comparative Study is a unique study of higher education in nine federal countries—the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, China and India. In this book, leading international scholars discuss the role of federalism and how it shapes higher education in major nation-state actors on the world stage. The editors develop an overarching comparative analysis of the dynamics of central and regional power in higher education, and the national case studies explain how each federal and federal-like higher education system has evolved and how it functions in what are highly varied contexts.
The book makes a major contribution to higher education studies and defines a new field of comparative analysis. It also provides important insights into comparative governance and the study of federalism and federal arrangements, with their particular historical, political, legal and economic dimensions.
Argues that explaining national declines in test scores is as important as explaining increases.
Interviews with Australian experts on reasons for Australia’s large decline in PISA scores.
Uses microdata from PISA and TIMSS scores to test expert explanations for decline.
Finds that decline is pervasive across Australian states and social class groups.
Finds that there is no clear explanation for the large decrease in Australia’s PISA scores.
Using a natural experiment situation, this chapter describes the process of curriculum reform in Russian-medium schools in Latvia and Estonia. The research question focuses on whether those curriculum reforms were successful from the perspective of schools’ interiorisation of new curriculum and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) performance improvement. Using the three-layered curriculum approach (intended, implemented and attained curriculum), this chapter analyses how the intentions of the laws and other reform-related documents were implemented in everyday school practice and are reflected in attained educational results. To address this issue, a series of in-depth interviews in Russian-medium schools, in conjunction with the PISA 2003 2012 trends analysis, were conducted. The results showed that intended and attained curricula have grown closer in both countries. Schools actively implement proposed reforms in teaching, and PISA performance has been constantly improving, showing that the attained curriculum is approaching what was intended, though this process is different in the two countries.
School climate is one of the significant factors determining educational achievement. However, the lack of instruments to measure it has complicated the study of this concept in Russia. We review the history of the study of the concept of “school climate,” and we discuss approaches to how it can be defined. We describe the most widely used questionnaires for studying school climate and analyze the set of components that have been included in them. To conduct the empirical study, we chose the student questionnaire that is used in the PISA international study, which provides a theoretical basis for measuring a number of dimensions of school climate. We conducted a psychometric analysis using methods from confirmatory factor analysis and modern test theory. It turned out that the structure of the indices that are used to measure school climate is not what the framers of the questionnaire assumed it would be. It is unclear whether the questions reflect the school climate indicators that are specifically proposed in the questionnaires. Some of the judgments in the questionnaire have been worded in such a way as to elicit most students’ agreement or disagreement with them without revealing any differences in how students perceive the subject of the question. The answer categories are unbalanced for most of the judgments. Respondents tended to fill them out in a one-sided fashion. We propose steps for how the instrument can be further improved.
Solutions to word problems are moderated by the semantic alignment of real-world relations with mathematical operations. Categorical relations between entities (tulips, roses) are aligned with addition, whereas certain functional relations between entities (tulips, vases) are aligned with division. Similarly, discreteness vs. continuity of quantities (marbles, water) is aligned with different formats for rational numbers (fractions and decimals, respectively). These alignments have been found both in textbooks and in the performance of college students in the USA and in South Korea. The current study examined evidence for alignments in Russia. Textbook analyses revealed semantic alignments for arithmetic word problems, but not for rational numbers. Nonetheless, Russian college students showed semantic alignments both for arithmetic operations and for rational numbers. Since Russian students exhibit semantic alignments for rational numbers in the absence of exposure to examples in school, such alignments likely reflect intuitive understanding of mathematical representations of real-world situations.
In responding to the need for internationally comparable data on higher education student learning outcomes, some modules of the HEIghten® Outcomes Assessment Suite, developed by Educational Testing Service, have been translated and adapted for international use. This recent development points to a critical need to validate the use of translated and adapted HEIghten assessments in international contexts. This chapter reports on validating the use of the Russian HEIghten Quantitative Literacy (QL) assessment with a representative group of students majoring in electrical engineering and computer science from 34 higher education institutions in Russia. Our findings provided preliminary evidence in support of the use of the assessment for the target population as a measure of QL. Future research is suggested to further investigate the test’s ability of reflecting changes in the target construct as a function of learning in the context of Russia.
A field study was performed by experts from the Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of Economics, as part of the Monitoring of Education Markets and Organizations conducted by HSE in cooperation with the Levada Center. Interviews and focus groups were organized with school principals, teachers, students and their parents in three schools teaching the most challenging type of students from low socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, who nevertheless achieve high learning outcomes. This is a follow-up of the 2015 study of environment characteristics, management and education strategies of schools operating in unfavorable social contexts. Such schools are defined as resilient, meaning that they successfully resist the disadvantaged context beyond their control. The schools surveyed differ in the number of students, education programs, and the level of regional deprivation, yet all of them pursue similar strategies that are well-targeted and recognized by all educational process participants. Such strategies include: introducing limited selection and levelling off the student body, imposing high expectations and transparent requirements to learning outcomes, providing individual support and encouragement to students, and developing the skills boosting graduates’ chances of successful socialization. Consistent implementation of these strategies will create conditions to promote academic resilience among students. Studying the experience of such schools appears to be crucial for solving the problem of inequality in education.
More and more middle school graduates opt for vocational schools every year. They are normally less academically successful students from lower economicand cultural backgrounds. Still, the vocational education system must provide the chance to have a quality general education to anyone who follows this trajectory after the ninth grade. The article uses findings of the Trajectories in Education and Careers longitudinal study to compare the important conditions of obtaining a general mathematical education, i. e. the professional and demographic characteristics of vocational and high school teachers and their teaching practices. The comparison reveals an inequality in students’ access to educational resources depending on the chosen trajectory.The differences revealed are related to the institutional characteristics of the two trajectories and make it possible to say that the latter embrace different types of general education.