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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the situation in education and labour market is changing in Russia, characterized by the expansion of services sectors and high participation in higher education, the mechanisms of social inequality reproduction are evolving. According to the intersectionality theory, social advantages and disadvantages are reproduced at the intersection of various social categories – social class, gender and others. In the paper, the outcomes of individuals in education and in the labour market representing three cohorts, born in 1954–1964, 1965–1975 and 1976–1986, were analyzed. Using the data provided by the European Social Survey, rounds 3–6 and 8, the hypotheses about the presence of cumulative effect from the intersection of gender and social class were tested. The results partially confirm the formulated hypotheses in case of achieved socio-professional status, but not in case of achieved higher education. 1) Women have more chances than men to obtain higher education; 2) women from families where fathers were workers have more chances than men from such families to move to the group “lower services class”. The latter positive effect is observed in case social class is specified based on mother’s profession; however, it is not significant. Therefore, women are likely to benefit most from the recent changes in education and labour market, compared to men. However, women are likely to find themselves in less prestigious and less paid segments of the services sector, despite the fact that their jobs require more skills.
As the situation in education and labour market is changing in Russia, characterized by the expansion of services sectors and high participation in higher education, the mechanisms of social inequality reproduction are evolving. According to the intersectionality theory, social advantages and disadvantages are reproduced at the intersection of various social categories – social class, gender and others. In the paper, the outcomes of individuals in education and in the labour market representing three cohorts, born in 1954–1964, 1965–1975 and 1976–1986, were analyzed. Using the data provided by the European Social Survey, rounds 3–6 and 8, the hypotheses about the presence of cumulative effect from the intersection of gender and social class were tested. The results partially confirm the formulated hypotheses in case of achieved socio-professional status, but not in case of achieved higher education. 1) Women have more chances than men to obtain higher education; 2) women from families where fathers were workers have more chances than men from such families to move to the group “lower services class”. The latter positive effect is observed in case social class is specified based on mother’s profession, however, it is not significant. Therefore, women are likely to benefit the most from the recent changes in education and the labour market, compared to men. However, women are likely to find themselves in the less prestigious and less paid segments of the services sector, despite the fact that their jobs require more skills.
The goal of the paper was twofold. First, we intended to show that a prevalent approach to assessing domain-specific interests and attitudes through generalized items (I like math) has serious flaws, especially when applying to children in largescale surveys. We demonstrated these flaws with the Scale of attitudes to the math used in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Second, we showed an alternative approach to assessing interests through behaviorally anchored items developed in the framework of the interest development theory. The new Math Interest Behavioral Indicators Scale (MIBI) proved not only excellent psychometric characteristics, but it also discriminated children who were from advanced math programs and who were not, what the TIMSS scale did not do. The importance of theory for scale development is discussed.
In tIn this study we discuss the theoretical construct of deductive reasoning and propose a test aimed at its evaluation. The theory of mental models and belief bias effect in logical reasoning were taken as a conceptual framework. In the first study, the two-factor structure of the deductive reasoning construct was revealed. The two factors underlying the construct were the sequential reasoning and the analysis of alternatives. In the second study, we cross-validated the two-factor structure and investigated the effect of mental models and belief bias on performance. We concluded that two scales of the deductive reasoning test can be used for measuring two independent skills of deductive reasoning – the sequential reasoning and the analysis of alternatives. Each scale showed good psychometric characteristics and a clear structure. The validity of the test was supported by the concordance between the item difficulty from one hand and the number of mental models involved and item believability from another. Directions for further investigation are discussed.
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.