Grit is widely considered a trait composed of perseverance of effort (PE) and consistency of long-term interests (CI) that is positively associated with educational and professional attainments. However, because of unclear relations between the two elements that compose grit, PE and CI, the theoretical model of the construct of grit is still questionable. On the one hand, we have extensive evidence that the overall score for grit can predict important life outcomes. On the other hand, predictive ability does not necessarily indicate that a measure reflects a unitary psychological trait. In the case of the Grit scale, a number of works have shown that treating grit as a whole or higher-order construct is psychometrically and psychologically unsound. In this work, we aimed to explore the relationship of PE and CI with long-term educational outcomes in desired educational trajectories while controlling for potentially confounding factors. We hypothesized that if PE and CI are facets of a unified grit construct, we would find consistent patterns in these facets for a range of educational outcomes. Our study was conducted on a large sample of students (N=3110) from a national longitudinal study of school and university graduates. These students were also participants in both the TIMSS-2011 and PISA-2012 studies. When the students were in 9th grade, we assessed their grit, academic achievement, and educational aspiration. The next year, we obtained information about the choices students made after completing compulsory education: staying in high school vs. obtaining vocational training. Two years later, we again assessed the students’ educational and life outcomes. We run two regression models. The first model was a model with PE and CI as predictors only. In the second model, SES, gender, cognitive ability scores and educational aspirations were added as covariates. To test the mediation hypotheses, we also run regression models for possible mediators (educational aspirations and achievement) as outcomes. The results showed that perseverance was a better predictor than interests, although the effects of perseverance on long-term educational outcomes were more often indirect. Consistency of interests did not predict educational trajectories or achievement. Accordingly, we failed to find any consistent patterns in perseverance and interests with long-term educational outcomes. These findings are discussed in terms of the nature of the grit construct and the validity of the Grit scale.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has revealed problems in school education using ICT. Teachers were forced to start teaching remotely using special, often unfamiliar to them software to communicate with students. The interaction in online lessons is very different from face-to-face classes. This is especially true for lessons with young children who overcome various barriers and may require outside support because of lack of ICT literacy or inappropriate software. However, teachers experience even greater challenges. At the beginning of the urgent transition to distance learning, teachers started to shape spontaneously their teaching methods, taking into account technical problems, such as students’ low speed of Internet connection or lack of webcams. Different teachers were dealing with such problems in different ways: for example, giving assignments on the textbook, and asking to send photos with answers. Besides, there are new barriers related to the order of the lesson. It is important to make sure that children are involved online, therefore there is a need in controlling the children's activity in distance learning, keeping the classroom discipline and sometimes parental involvement. The aim of the research is to identify barriers that hinder effective distance teaching in grade 5 according to teachers’ opinion. To address our aim we used data collected in May 2020 for Sber Gamification Lab research of digital interactive history materials. This research assumes a qualitative analysis. The data consists of 18 semi-structured interviews on multiple topics with history teachers of the 5th grade in Russian schools. Teachers face new challenges because of distance learning, and it is still unclear how to introduce a new lesson format of interactive e-learning, how to manage a lesson, and how to test knowledge remotely. There is no universal solution to distance learning, so it becomes difficult for teachers to provide exciting and engaging lessons. What solutions to these problems have teachers found? Our results showed that teachers began to use a variety of online-activities on history lessons. For example, it is noteworthy that one of the schools has its own Learning Management System (LMS), where the teacher has the ability to create their own tests and control students. It is also important to note that due to the introduction of interactive materials, teachers could not determine their role in the lesson. Some issues were connected with teachers’ digital literacy skills: some teachers did not know how to organize work in groups or pairs, some of them never used communication platforms such as Zoom before. The article concludes with recommendations for solving problems of organizing and conducting remote lessons.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and the allover shift to remote learning, the need for sufficient material and technical equipment in schools has become very urgent. Forced to hold their classes online, many teachers face a shortage of gadgets and ICT skills to teach successfully.
Russia is no exception in this situation. Despite three waves of digitalization, during which schools were equipped with computers and other devices, many of them were poorly prepared for online learning. In part, this is the consequence of the large territory and decentralized educational policy for schools’ equipping, because of which schools in some regions and municipalities have become more prepared for the challenges of the pandemic.
This paper examines the digital gap between Russian schools and its growth over the past 10 years. The differences in the material and technical base of schools and in their financial capabilities for the acquisition and purchase of new equipment are shown. Also, there are analyzed the differences in the teachers’ qualifications and their digital opportunities at school. Finally, there is shown the relationship between all these differences and the educational outcomes of students from different regions and municipalities.
The results of the study make it possible to single out some territories where low access to digital resources negatively affected the students’ exam results and their choice of further educational trajectory. First, these are residents of remote regions of Siberia and the Far East, where the digital lag of schools overlayed on the infrastructural problems. As a result, these students were the first to be most affected by the forced shift to remote learning. Thus, the coronavirus crisis became a litmus test and widens the digital gap in Russian education.
A central concern surrounding test-based accountability is that teachers may narrow teaching practices to improve test performance on a curriculum-based specific knowledge test rather than student learning more broadly. Two of the most common teaching practices that “teach to the test” are providing test-specific classwork and increasing the frequency with which students take practice tests. Whether such teaching practices improve student learning—both in terms of learning the content associated with a specific knowledge test as well as more general learning—is a largely unanswered question. To approach this question, this paper uses a student fixed effects approach to analyze the impact of these kinds of narrow teaching practices on student performance on a specific test as well as a general knowledge test. We find that test-specific classwork and practice tests with specific test items tend to have little or negative impacts on curriculum specific or general knowledge test performance, except for male students, and that subject practice tests (without emphasizing test-specific items) have positive effects on student outcomes on both kinds of tests, but larger on the curriculum-specific than on the general test, and much larger on the curriculum-specific test for male students. We discuss the logic for these results and what they tell us about the effectiveness of test-focused teaching practices more generally.
The demand for large-scale assessments in higher education, especially at an international scale, is growing. A major challenge of conducting these assessments, however, is that they require understanding and balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders (government officials, university administrators, and students) and also overcoming potential unwillingness of these stakeholders to participate. In this paper, we take the experience of the Study of Undergraduate Performance (SUPER) in conducting a large-scale international assessment as a case study. We discuss ways in which we mitigated perceived risks, built trust, and provided incentives to ensure the successful engagement of stakeholders during the study’s implementation.
Universities contribute to economic growth and national competitiveness by equipping students with higher-order thinking and academic skills. Despite large investments in university science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, little is known about how the skills of STEM undergraduates compare across countries and by institutional selectivity. Here, we provide direct evidence on these issues by collecting and analysing longitudinal data on tens of thousands of computer science and electrical engineering students in China, India, Russia and the United States. We find stark differences in skill levels and gains among countries and by institutional selectivity. Compared with the United States, students in China, India and Russia do not gain critical thinking skills over four years. Furthermore, while students in India and Russia gain academic skills during the first two years, students in China do not. These gaps in skill levels and gains provide insights into the global competitiveness of STEM university students across nations and institutional types.
The use of digital resources in school education plays an important role in the modern world, especially in the context of distance learning. Despite this, the school remains quite a conservative social institute, where adoption of new technologies faces a number of external and internal barriers. Thus, there may be insufficient material and resource base of the school, lack of additional time and technical support for teachers, as well as personal characteristics of teachers, their internal attitudes and resistance to change, that deter the successful adoption of digital resources in the educational process. The aim of this research is to identify and describe the strategies for the adoption of digital resources in the educational process by Russian school teachers, and also to detect the determinants of differences in their choices of those strategies. The empirical basis of this study is a randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers of the International Laboratory for Evaluation of Practices and Innovations in Education for the Russian IT company Yandex in the 2018/2019 academic year with 347 Russian schools participated in the study. During the 25 weeks, the experimental group of 165 teachers from these schools was recommended to use the digital service named Yandex.Textbook, which provides individualized digital home tasks in Mathematics and Russian language with automated checking. We analyzed the average weekly number of home tasks given by every teacher to identify their strategies for using Yandex.Textbook. With the help of time series cluster analysis, there were identified three different strategies for using digital resources. The first one presents a situation where a teacher uses Yandex.Textbook from the very beginning with pauses during school holidays. The second strategy is typical for those teachers who join the experiment later and start with a bigger amount of home tasks than the first ones, to compensate for the lost time. The third strategy is usual for teachers who use Yandex.Textbook only once or twice, despite recommendations. Further analysis with the use of multinomial regression showed that relationship of teachers’ characteristics and their strategy choice. Those teachers who are more likely to choose the 2nd strategy (“delayed start”) tend to have a bigger working experience and a lower education level than the teachers that realized the 1st strategy. At the same time, there was no significant relationship between strategy choice and personal ICT and user experience. Besides, chances for choosing the 3rd strategy (“sporadic use”), as well as the 2nd one, are higher for teachers in schools where principals consider the lack of computers with the Internet connection as a significant obstacle to the use of new technologies. This research shows how the external and internal barriers of Russian school teachers determine the dynamics of digital resource adoption in the educational process. These results allow us to identify teachers who may need additional support for the further integration of digital resources. This is an important result for education policymakers and school principals who plan to introduce new digital learning resources into practice.
Measurement in social sciences implies that the measured feature is quantitative, or
in other words that it is possible not only to arrange the values of any given attribute, but also
to express the difference between ordered magnitudes using a certain unit of measurement.
However the need to verify this basic assumption is often ignored. And though there are a few
possible excuses for this, but fundamentally this neglect distracts the social sciences from its
main task of exploring reality. In this work, one of the requirements for the ordinal structure
of motives was checked, namely the requirement of transitivity: if a > b and b > c, then a >
If transitivity is not observed, then motives cannot be evaluated even on an ordinal scale
(“more – less”, “stronger – weaker”), not to mention their quantitative measurement,
which all methods that use Likert scales are supposedly tailored to. On a sample of 250
students, it was shown that about half of the respondents established transitivity when
arranging their motives (internal, external and social ones), which justifies the use of ordinal
scales for motivation assessment, at least for these motives and for two values: “more” and
“less”; however, even in these cases, further validation of the assumptions about additivity
when it comes to measuring motives is required to justify the use of Likert scales. The other
part of the respondents (about 40%) could neither distinguish nor arrange their motives,
therefore not only measuring, but even defining the order of their motives in these cases
is impossible. It is concluded that the transitivity error is associated with the individual
characteristics of the respondents and requires further study as a systematic error.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education research indicates a gender gap in how students perceive their mathematical ability. Even when there are no gender disparities in math achievement, girls tend to have lower expectations of success and lower self-reported proficiency in the subject than boys. Empirical findings show that development of growth mindset could bridge the gender gap in students’ perceptions of their mathematical ability and enhance girls’ interest in math. Formative feedback is one of the possible tools to foster the development of growth mindsets.
This study investigates the impact of an e-learning platform with automated feedback on the development of growth mindsets in elementary school children. Empirical data was collected during an experiment which involved 6,300 third-grade students from 343 regional schools in Russia. Statistically significant differences were revealed between students in the control group and those who used the e-learning platform (experimental group). However, the effects of using the platform were significantly lower for girls than boys.
The results obtained in this study point to the great potential of e-learning platforms with instant feedback in fostering growth mindsets in mathematics among elementary school children. Furthermore, it appears vital to integrate tailored feedback for boys and girls to mitigate gender differences in school math education.
The reasons for innovations inside and outside the education system have attracted much research interest over the past decades. However, there is still a lack of methodological tools to measure motives of actors coming from inside and outside the system to launch their innovative projects. The article describes approaches to measure the construct “motivation for innovative activity,” as well as the results of adaptation of the scale aimed at measuring motives for creation of innovative educational projects. The tool is based on the scale, constructed in English, “Reasons to create business projects” (PSED). In this research the scale was translated into Russian, adapted for the group of innovators in education and validated within a classical framework of combining exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (EFA and CFA, respectively). Additionally, the subscales were evaluated in terms of internal coherence. The Russian and the English version of the scale were compared, and each subscale was interpreted. Adaptation was performed on the sample of innovators in education, that is, the participants of Competition of Innovations in Education (N = 286). The final scale includes 16 statements and allows to evaluate the intensity of four motivational attitudes towards innovative activity: “Social significance,” “Innovations and creativity,” “Self-realization and achievement,” “Finance and autonomy.” The identified motives reflect certain endeavors and goals of innovators and determine the content and orientation of their educational projects. The instrument can be used for both research and practice purposes to explore motivation of proactive actors in education, as well as similar groups involved in the development of public social spheres. The full version of the scale is presented in the appendix and contains the instructions for respondents and scoring criteria for four subscales
Three studies examine a novel pathway by which the perseverance component of the personality trait grit might predict college students’ behavioral persistence when solving challenging math problems. Specifically, we focus on the intervening role of what we refer to as math-specific self-perceptions of perseverance, which captures students’ perceived tendency and ability to persevere on challenging math problems. Across studies, we found that this math-specific construct was correlated with behavioral math persistence, whereas the domain-general perseverance component of grit was not. Despite there being no correlation between one’s general perceptions of perseverance and behavioral persistence on math problems, we consistently found significant indirect effects of general perceptions through math-specific perceptions of perseverance. That is, in all three studies, grittier students viewed themselves as more capable of persevering on challenging math problems, which ultimately predicted their behavioral persistence at a later time point.
This study examines territorial differences in Russian students' choice of educational trajectory after secondary school between 2000 – 2014, between regions in various socio-economic and cultural contexts. The Russian case might be interesting for the social and economic gap between Russian provinces, which is comparable to other countries differences: some regions, equal to Singapore or the Netherlands in GDP per capita, while others are similar to Honduras or Bolivia. These differences in economic development, among other things, are also associated with the gap in human capital, which is traditionally measured through the level of education of the population. In the Russian system of education, the actual choice of educational trajectory takes place at the end of secondary school, when children should choose between the academic track, which presumes admission to the high school and university after that, and the vocational track, which includes admission to vocational college. Since 2000th, the proportion of secondary school graduates, who chose the academic trajectory, has declined in most of the Russian regions, despite growing access to higher education, thanks to the raise in the number of universities between 2000-2008 with simultaneous demographic decline. With the dynamic time warping algorithm and time series cluster analysis, six different types of regional situations were identified, in the dynamics of the percentage of students who chose the academic track after secondary school. In general, in the most economically advantaged regions with a developed infrastructure of higher education, the popularity of the academic trajectory remains at the same high level. But also there were some decreases in 2009 and 2013, which could be a consequence of the world economic crises in those years. These crises became additional factors at the regional level, for the families in the more developed territories, to re-evaluate their children's chances for higher education and the associated costs. At the same time, the proportion of students on the academic track in more economically disadvantaged regions, with lower access to higher education, has gradually decreased since 2000. These students faced a “double penalty” because they had to plan their education strategy, taking into account higher competition for places in universities, or moving to other regions to enter educational institutions there, which was also associated with growing costs. In this situation, the vocational track becomes a more affordable alternative for students from regions with a lower level of economic and social development. As the result of the analysis, it is possible to determine short and long term prerequisites for further growth in the human capital gap between Russian regions and, consequently, the growing differences in economic development.
We examine the effects of computer-based versus paper-based assessment of critical thinking skills, adapted from English (in the U.S.) to Chinese. Using data collected based on a random assignment between the two modes in multiple Chinese colleges, we investigate mode effects from multiple perspectives: mean scores, measurement precision, item functioning (i.e. item difficulty and discrimination), response behavior (i.e. test completion and item omission), and user perceptions. Our findings shed light on assessment and item properties that could be the sources of mode effects. At the test level, we find that the computer-based test is more difficult and more speeded than the paper-based test. We speculate that these differences are attributable to the test’s structure, its high demands on reading, and test-taking flexibility afforded under the paper testing mode. Item-level evaluation allows us to identify item characteristics that are prone to mode effects, including targeted cognitive skill, response type, and the amount of adaptation between modes. Implications for test design are discussed, and actionable design suggestions are offered with the goal of minimizing mode effect.
It is well established that family socio-economic status (SES) is strongly related to academic performance. Nonetheless, there is a group of children with high levels of academic achievement who come from disadvantaged family backgrounds. These children possess what is called ‘academic resilience’. In our study, we want to see whether the two largest international comparative studies are consistent in terms of identifying resilient students and whether the factors of academic resilience are common for the two studies. We use data from a Russian longitudinal study Trajectories in Education and Careers (TrEC), in which students' achievement was measured with both the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, 8th grade) and, a year later, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Our study focuses on the relationship between individual and school-related factors of resilience and whether these factors are specific to a particular educational outcome (TIMSS or PISA), or are of a more universal nature. We show that attitudes towards mathematics and test scores in general are positively related to the probability of becoming a resilient student. We also find that school related variables (such as average school SES and school type) are more significant for TIMSS than for PISA results. Our study shows that there are students who are both TIMSS and PISA resilient.
This article provides an empirically grounded analysis for two fundamentally different models of mathematics teachers’ beliefs about student diversity in Russian secondary schools: exclusive and inclusive models. Although teachers’ beliefs are considered a central factor for the differentiated approach, teachers’ beliefs could be stereotyped and, consequently, the evaluation of a student’s ability would be systematically shifted and decisions about the possibility of teaching a student would be incorrect. Semi-structured interviews with 30 mathematics teachers allowed us to investigate what criteria teachers claim to employ while classifying students in the classroom and what expectations they have for each group of students. It was found that within the exclusive model, teachers have an image of a “normal” student and use discrete categories for labelling students with reference to the “normality”. Within the inclusive model teachers tend not to match students with discrete categories; rather they prefer to compare a student only with herself or himself. Research findings are discussed in the context of a possible “fixed effect” on a student’s development. However, there is a need for further investigation of a connection between teachers’ belief systems, teaching practices, and student achievement.
Sociologists have argued that high-stakes tests open the door to high levels of educational inequality at transition points: in a high-stakes testing regime, parents and students are able to focus all energy and resources on test preparation, thus enhancing pre-existing inequalities in academic performance. But arguments about a special role for high-stakes tests are often prosecuted without explicit comparisons to other types of tests and assessments, usually because information on other tests is not available. In this article, we analyze a unique dataset on a contemporary cohort of Russian students, for whom we have PISA and TIMSS scores, low-stakes test scores, and high-stakes test scores. We compare the role each test plays in mediating socioeconomic background inequalities at the important transitions in the Russian educational system: the transition to upper secondary education and the transition to university. We find evidence in favor of a special role for the high-stakes test at the transition to university, but we also find evidence that gives cause to question the standard assumption that high-stakes tests should be a primary focus for those concerned about inequality of educational opportunity.
In recent years, many countries have begun to pay more attention to the results of comparative international studies in education, for example, TIMSS, PIRLS, and PISA. In addition to international comparisons of students' outcomes, the issue of within-country differences in students’ results and access to educational resources is becoming increasingly relevant. Such within-country comparisons became possible in 2019 when the last data of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) arrived.,. In this regard Russia, as a country with a large territory and great social, economic and language diversity, might become an interesting case to examine. The research focus will be on the regional differences not only in students' results in reading, mathematics, and science, but also in their access to educational resources controlling their socio-economic and school context that is traditionally associated by researchers with higher students’ performance.
This paper examines the concept of spatial heterogeneity using the data of two Russian regions – Moscow Region and the Tatarstan republic. We compare the estimates for the relationship of students' PISA results with their personal, family and school characteristics, analyzing regional differences in share of variation in PISA performance, explained by these predictors.
Thus, regional inequality in PISA results is observed in all three subjects – mathematics, reading, and sciences. Moreover, the gap in the average scores of students in the Moscow region and the Republic of Tatarstan corresponds to almost five months, or a half-year of studying. This level of regional differences exceeds the international one. Large and significant differences are observed in the family and school characteristics. The contribution of these predictors to students’ achievements also vary among regions. This is an important point for educational policy which shows that the effectiveness of decisions can also vary depending on the territory.
Over the past 60 years, the topic of social inequality has been one of the key to educational research. Since the 90's years of the last century, thanks to the advent of international monitoring, the main focus is on comparisons of different countries in terms of educational opportunities, as well as academic and social segregation in schools. At the same time, it is known that even within countries, especially those with a great geographical extent, differences in access to educational resources and in learning outcomes can be very large.
Our work complements the existing discussion on spatial inequality in education. In this paper, we analyze the hierarchical structure of the educational system in countries with a moderate level of centralization, when access to resources can vary at three levels: between schools in a municipality, between municipalities in regions and between regions. We analyze the variation of school ICT-resources, teachers’ characteristics, and students’ outcomes in Russian language, mathematics and computer science on between- and within-regional levels. For these aims, we operate a unique dataset of nearly 40 000 Russian schools.
Our results show the existing gap between Russian schools, municipalities, and regions in access to educational resources and educational results. The uneven distribution of resources between territories, as a result of unbalanced decentralized policy, creates a situation of “double penalty” or “double bonus” for students.