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.
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.
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.
This study focuses on the practice of using digital interactive materials by history teachers in grade 5. Despite the fact that digital technologies penetrate the modern child's outward things from the first years of life, their integration into schooling is still accompanied by difficulties for teachers. The existing studies indicate restrictions on access to quality equipment and software, which impede the effective interaction of teachers and students with digital materials in the lesson. In this regard, the urgent task is to analyze approaches to the lesson organization and identify problems encountered by teachers who use digital interactive materials in the lessons. The study is carried out in a qualitative paradigm. The empirical evidence was obtained using the method of semi-formalized interviews and observations. A total of 6 observations and 6 interviews were collected with history teachers in middle school who applied the digital module in the lesson with students in grades 5. The digital module that was used in history lessons was developed by the Sberbank Gamification Laboratory. The module is dedicated to Ancient Greece, the data was collected in the middle of the school year (December 2019-February 2020) directly during the study of this topic as part of a school history curriculum. As part of the observation, we focused on the interaction of the teacher, students and the digital module in the lesson. It was found that even using digital materials, many teachers prefer the front-end method of organizing the lesson, and therefore students are not able to study the material independently at their own pace. Nevertheless, regardless of the form of organization of work in the lesson, the interaction with the module caused increased interest among students and was positively evaluated by teachers. Interviews show that teachers note the convenience and willingness to work with such materials, even in spite of the considerable time spent in preparing and planning the lesson. In general, teachers were interested in the innovation, emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the materials and were ready to recommend the module to their colleagues, including teachers of other school subjects. In prospect, we will identify the teacher’s strategies for working with digital interactive materials in the lesson and give recommendations for improving the module and simplifying interaction with it.
In this study, we test how the level of relative teacher wages affects educational outcomes. Russia provides a unique setting for testing this relationship given its high regional heterogeneity. We use two measures of educational outcomes at different levels of the school system. Our results show that the level of relative teacher wages has a significant positive effect on both test scores. Institutional reforms in teacher wage setting in Russia further allow us to estimate an instrumental variable model and difference-in-difference model, which confirm the robustness of our main result. We also provide some evidence on the possible channels of this effect.
Using data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Study – Higher School of Economics (RLMS), we estimate the relationship between the sense of control, measured as the belief that one has control over one’s important future life circumstances and job-related training for women and men in a transitional context. We test the theory of alternative resources and the critical approaches in the analysis of the role of gender in individual outcomes from training. We show that while job-related training is associated with higher sense of control (measured using Pearlin Mastery Scale), its effect varies by gender and therefore, its absolute value is limited. We conclude that job-related training exacerbates the existing differences in the sense of control between women and men in Russia, which can potentially have prolonged, negative effects on the wider outcomes of women in the labour market.
Policymakers in developing countries have prioritized the mass expansion of vocational education and training (VET). Evidence suggests, however, that the quality of VET can be poor. One possible reason given by policymakers for this is a lack of resources per student. The goal of this study is to examine whether the quality of VET in developing countries increases by investing greater resources per student. To achieve this goal, we examine the impacts of attending model schools (which have far more resources per student) compared with non-model schools (which have fewer resources) on a range of student cognitive, non-cognitive, and behavioral outcomes. Using representative data from a survey of approximately 12,000 VET students from China, multivariate regression and propensity score matching analyses show that there are no significant benefits, in terms of student outcomes, from attending model vocational high schools, despite their substantially greater resources.
We present three new standardised network concept map (CM) measures that can provide unique information about learning‐related progress, which cannot be determined from previously known measures. Grounded in cognitive development theory on the one hand, and network theory on the other hand, our measures reveal how knowledge is stored, distributed and retrieved. We validated the new measures by testing their ability to discriminate between CMs of respondents with different levels of competency in statistics (students before and after taking an introductory statistics course and experts in the field of statistics). We also validated our measures against the most commonly used traditional and network measures. Based on a small sample of respondents, we show that two of the newly proposed compound measures reveal significant differences between experts and novices in the field, with higher values for experts, showing that expert knowledge is better distributed, more connected and balanced. More importantly, our measures were sensitive enough to show learning‐related progress for students, albeit statistically non‐significant, while common indicators from network theory did not demonstrate these small shifts. The validity of our new measures can be inferred from the consistency of the results from different sets of measures.
The research is devoted to a cross-country analysis of approaches to the legal regulation of private tutoring in Russia and abroad. Russian legislation is actively developing in the regulation of the private tutoring market due to the annual growth of its volumes and the impact on educational policy. The existing system of legal regulation of tutoring in Russia contains examples of successful decisions — for example, the experimental tax mode for self-employed citizens that helped many tutors to enter the legal field and conduct their activities on favorable terms and with a minimum amount of tax reporting. Nevertheless, the mechanisms of Russian regulation need a further study, especially regarding the designation of the legal status of a tutor and the possibility of licensing these specialists in order to guarantee the quality of the services provided. Using international experience allows us to study a wide range of legal approaches used in the world as well as highlight the most successful solutions that can be recommended for implementation in the Russian practice of regulating shadow education.
The paper presents results of a comparative study of motivation for studying science in Russia and leading countries in science education. We explored the relationship and its strength between various types of motivation and the level of science literacy. The analysis was based on the data of the international study PISA-2015, represented by a sample of 15-year-olds (N = 6036). We found a significant positive correlation between intrinsic and achievement motivation and the level of science literacy almost in all analysed countries. At the same time, in case of intrinsic motivation — which is the strongest predictor for achievement in other countries — the increase in PISA results was lower for Russian students. On the other side, with an increase in motivation focused on academic achievement, Russian students have one of the most noticeable increases in results in comparison with leading countries. The nonlinear nature of the relationship between instrumental motivation and the PISA results for Russian students was also revealed — students with the highest and lowest levels of this type of motivation show the best results. The potential prospects of using different kinds of programs for raising motivation and achievement are discussed.