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.
Concept mapping is a popular tool for knowledge structure assessment. In recent years, both the amount of research about concept maps and their measurement ability have grown. It has been shown that concept maps with different types of tasks, for instance, links between concepts given or selected by a respondent, provide information about the different aspects of students’ knowledge structure. This study explores features of concept mapping with and without a list of concepts. At first, eleven masters students constructed concept maps with a topic on statistical data analysis and, after three weeks, repeated the task with the same topic and a predefined list of concepts. Both types of concept maps were evaluated using traditional scoring indicators and indicators from the network analysis. All indicators were tested for significant differences, and then the content of these maps was analysed. Results show that the list of concepts forced respondents to construct more connective maps, which is related to a more developed knowledge structure. Moreover, it is easier for them, when including even abstract concepts, to define their role in the domain. However, respondents use concepts and group them in different ways depending on the instruction. It seems that respondents feel a “list stress”, which leads to differences in the content. These findings demonstrate the possibilities of using different concept mapping tasks for learning and assessment.
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.
Today is still little known about regional inequality in education in Russia. In this article, we, on the one hand, analyze regional differences in educational resources in their association with regions’ socio-economic characteristics. On the other hand, we estimate relationship of regions’ socio-economic characteristics and educational resources with the proportion of students remaining in high school as well as with the average results of the Unified State Exam (end of high school test) in two compulsory subjects - Russian and math. We test theories of effectively maintained inequality and maximally maintained inequality with the use of data of Russia regions that we retrieve in open sources – publications of Rosstat, federal and regional education agencies. To estimate the relationship we use correlation and regression analysis. Our results show that more urbanized regions with higher level of human capital and GRP are usually characterized by the higher level of school expenditures, more experienced teachers, and higher chances for students to study at the advanced level. The same time, the level of urbanization and human capital is positively related to the proportion of students that choose academic trajectory after finishing secondary school. Finally, the results of the Unified State Exam are also positively associated with access to educational resources. In both subjects, the average test score is higher in the regions with higher proportion of students in lyceums/gymnasiums and in schools with advanced study of the subjects. In Russian, the exam results are also related to the proportion of students remaining in high school. In general, regional inequality in access to educational resources overlaps with socio-economic differences which produces a situation of double loss or double advantage. Bigger access to better educational resources in regions with higher human capital supports effectively maintained inequality theory. The same time the fact that less proportion of students choose academic trajectory after grade 9 in regions with less human capital could be an evidence of maximally maintained inequality. The article could be interesting to readers whose study relates to problems of education inequality and education policy.
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
The Grit scale is a popular measure of achievement-striving behavior. Consisting of two subscales, Consistency of Interests (CI) and Perseverance of Effort (PE), this scale has been repeatedly demonstrated to have high reliability and validity. At the same time, an increasing number of studies explicitly report a low correlation between the subscales and distinct patterns of associations with external measures that each subscale forms. We explored whether there is psychometric evidence that a substantive single grit construct underlies the scale. To answer this question, we investigated the scale structure in a more robust framework than the classical test theory and factor analyses could previously provide. The Russian version of the Grit scale was developed and implemented on a representative sample of high school students (n = 2,269), and different models of item response theory (IRT), both unidimensional and multidimensional, were compared to find the best fitting model. The results confirmed that the subscales reflect related but independent constructs rather than the whole grit construct. The psychometric properties of the subscales were analyzed with the two-dimensional Partial Credit Model. Both subscales of the Russian version of the Grit scale are unidimensional, have good psychometric properties, and can be used to estimate respondents’ ability.
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.
The competence of mathematical modelling is well conceptualized, thought a much-debated question is how to develop it in schools. International achievement test PISA consider mathematics achievements from the modelling perspective (formulating, employing and interpreting), and provides us with comprehensive data to analyze school factors in math results from the comparative perspective. The goal of our study was to estimate the effect of teaching practices on students’ achievements in different PISA mathematical processes while controlling prior achievements (TIMSS).
University faculty are frequently tasked with promoting academic honesty among students. However, there is little reliable evidence about whether faculty actions can prevent academic dishonesty. The purpose of this study is to examine whether more severe punishments from faculty can reduce academic dishonesty among students. We analyze nationally representative, longitudinal and matched data on engineering undergraduates and faculty from 33 universities in Russia, and document extremely high and increasing rates of dishonest academic attitudes among students, especially among the higher achieving students. In the first two years of study the proportion of students tolerant to academic dishonesty increases by 5 percentage points. We then show that despite the tide of increasing academic dishonesty among students, more severe punishments from faculty significantly and substantially improve student attitudes towards academic dishonesty. Taken together, the findings emphasize the importance of strengthening the role of faculty in promoting academic honesty among students.
Critical thinking has been identified as a crucial general skill contributing to academic and career success in the twenty-first century. With the increasing demands of the modern workplace and a global trend of accountability in higher education, educators and employers pay great attention to the development of students' critical thinking skills throughout their training. Therefore, there is an urgent need worldwide for an updated and comprehensive assessment tool of college-level critical thinking. This paper reports on the preliminary validation for the Russian version of the HEIghten® Critical Thinking assessment developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Based on a large Russian college student sample (N = 1060), we evaluated the psychometric quality of the items, individual and institution-level reliability, external validity, and student perceptions. Overall, the results suggested good psychometric quality, except that a few items showed low discriminating power and should be further examined with a second wave of data collection. IRT analyses revealed testlet effects and supported the essentially unidimensional structure of the measure. Appropriate correlations with external criteria provided support for the measure's convergent validity. Implications of the preliminary validation study results and the future research agenda, especially the need to collect longitudinal data, are discussed.
The issue presents an analysis of the association between the functional literacy and students' characteristics and educational trajectories. The analysis is conducted on the data of the Russian longitudinal study "Trajectories in education and profession." The differences in socio-economic characteristics, academic self-esteem and performance, as well as the choice of educational trajectories among students with low, medium and high level of functional literacy in PISA-2012 are described. The results show that students with low literacy levels not only have low educational results, but also less realistic forecast their future achievements and trajectories.